I remember, as a kid, having lunch at an all-American friend's house. It was soup and sandwich. Fine. The soup was canned tomato and the sandwich, Grilled Cheese. Now, we lived in the Bronx (NY) and it was winter. There wasn't a grill, so a skillet on the stove was the appliance of choice. I never enjoyed tomato soup..reminds me of watered down tomato sauce, but melted cheese sandwich was on my like-list.
Mrs. Monroe melted butter in a skillet, took two slices of white bread, slapped on two slices of yellow American cheese, put together the sandwich and grilled the bread on both sides until the cheese melted. Now, dear reader, I'm not that much of a food snob and there's nothing wrong with a melted cheese sandwich, so I ate it, happily, with the soup. I didn't think much of it....until Friday night rolled around.
Mozzarella in Carrozza. It's similar to the Grilled Cheese sandwich, but a couple of extra steps makes this panino special. Canola oil goes into a heavy skillet, the bread is dipped in seasoned, beaten eggs like French Toast, mozzarella is sliced thin and it's fried between the bread. OMGosh. When this wonderful, creamy, white, cheese melts...you can darn near faint. Mom served this sandwich with a tomato salad and the soup could be pasta e fagioli (pasta with cannellini beans) or escarole soup with tiny meatballs...a far cry from canned tomato soup. This sandwich is great for lunch, supper or even cut into small squares for an appetizer. Sometimes, it's served with a marinara sauce on the side, but we never did. To keep it warm, heat your oven on low and place the sandwiches on an oven-proof dish lined with a paper towel.
I don't make this panino as often as I should considering how wonderful it is, but it will never, ever go out of favor. Great recipes don't. This childhood favorite is right up there with other simple meals like warm Zeppoli (fried dough) sprinkled with salt served with fresh, plump tomatoes in quality olive oil, a bit of warm water, garlic, salt and basil. When Mama put these sort of meals on our table, memories were always made.
This is the method my family traditionally prepared this sandwich. After dipping into egg mixture, I always fry two slices of bread on one side first. Flip the slices over, layer the cheese on one fried slice of bread, place the other slice-fried side- on top of cheese. You now have a sandwich that you will fry on both sides until the cheese in the middle melts.
4 eggs, beaten
6 slices of soft bread (white or wheat)
9 slices of mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
dash of garlic powder
dash of salt
1 tsp. parsley
canola oil for frying
Heat oil in a heavy skillet. In a bowl, beat eggs, garlic powder, salt & parsley. Dip both sides of one slice of bread in egg mixture. Let excess drip back into bowl. Place in skillet. Immediately, repeat with a second slice of bread, frying both at the same time. Follow the above method to finish sandwich. Serve warm
Yields: 3 sandwiches
Remember To Make Memories At The Table