Mozzarella in Matzoh Carrozza

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Yield:

    6–7

    appetizer

Appears in

This variation on the Neapolitan mozzarella in carrozza—a luscious golden-fried sandwich of molten mozzarella, sauced with a blend of garlic, lemon, and anchovies—may seem unusual, but softened matzoh works remarkably well as a substitute for the fluffy sliced white bread frequently used. The absorbent matzoh pairs beautifully with the assertive citrusy sauce.

I especially like the subtle way the slightly sweet egg matzohs soften the saline edge of anchovies, but plain matzohs are very good too.

The anchovies are essential here. They energize the flavors, bringing needed dimension to the dish, and when minced fine, will dissolve into the sauce virtually undetectable.

Ingredients

  • 6–7 whole matzohs, egg or plain
  • About ½ pound mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced and then diced
  • 6–12 fresh basil leaves, shredded (optional)

Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons excellent-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon (3–4 tablespoons)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Lemon quarters
  • Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

Method

  1. Make the matzoh carrozzas. Break each matzoh into 4 equal pieces. Fill a large shallow dish or pan with well-salted water. Dip 2 matzoh quarters into the water until just softened and pliant. Place some of the cheese, and basil, if using, on one of the matzoh quarters and top with the second piece of matzoh. Pat this mozzarella sandwich into a hamburger patty shape, molding it nicely with your hands and gently squeezing out any excess water. The cheese should be completely covered by the matzoh coating. Place the finished patty on a platter to dry slightly as you continue making more, using the rest of the matzoh.
  2. Prepare the sauce. In a very small skillet or saucepan, cook the garlic in the oil over gentle heat until it is just tinged with gold, about 2 minutes. The garlic should remain quite soft—don’t let it turn crisp or brown. Immediately add the anchovies, stirring and mashing until they have dissolved completely. Whisk in the lemon juice and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, to blend all the flavors. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  3. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Heat ¼ inch of oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet until hot but not smoking. Just before frying, slip each patty into the egg, immersing it completely, then letting the excess egg drip back into the bowl. Slip as many egg-coated patties into the hot oil as possible without crowding the pan and fry them until crisp and golden on both sides. Avoid turning the patties more than once. Fry the remaining patties, in batches if necessary. Drain lightly on paper towels.
  4. Arrange two carrozzas on each plate and spoon some of the sauce over them. Serve with lemon quarters and fresh parsley sprigs, as garnish.

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