Anchovies and mozzarella are a perfect match. Tear up fresh mozzarella balls into bite-sized morsels and mix them with slices of ripe tomatoes. Add a few anchovy fillets, some fresh basil, and a drizzle of your best extra-virgin olive oil to make a spectacular salad.
In Roman cuisine, an anchovy fillet is often smuggled into a zucchini blossom along with a bite of mozzarella, before they are dipped in a thin beer batter and deep-fried. I followed the same pattern and hid an anchovy fillet in a batch of mozzarella in carrozza, a Neapolitan fried mozzarella sandwich. It is known as mozzarella in carrozza, mozzarella in a carriage, because a slice of mozzarella is placed in between two pieces of sandwich bread, just like in a carriage.
A perfect example of Italian cucina povera, mozzarella in carrozza is a smart way to upcycle stale bread and old mozzarella. Add an anchovy fillet for a boost of flavor that will cut through the richness of the fried cheese.
Makes 4 sandwiches
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices sandwich bread
- 5 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 4 slices
- 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
Whisk the eggs with the milk, then season with salt and pepper.
Sandwich each slice of mozzarella with an anchovy fillet in between two slices of bread, and press together well.
Dip the mozzarella sandwiches into the egg and milk batter, again pressing the edges together to seal the mozzarella inside.
Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Check if the temperature is right by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon in it: If it is immediately surrounded by tiny bubbles, the oil is ready for frying.
Working in batches, lay the sandwiches well-spaced into the skillet and fry for two to three minutes per side, until crisp and golden.
Remove the sandwiches from the oil, place on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Enjoy the fried mozzarella sandwiches while they are still hot.