My mom made mozzarella in carrozza for us as a snack all the time. Hers still tastes better, but here’s my version anyway. I don’t like super egg-y custards, so I use one egg and some cream. Inspired by Jennifer Perillo’s fantastic tomato jam, I created a simplified, quick-cook tomato-red pepper jam. I like dipping pieces of the sandwich into the tomato jam -- reminds me of slathering Monte Cristos with strawberry preserves. FYI: “in carrozza” means “in a carriage” in Italian, in case you were wondering. —mrslarkin
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Mrslarkin makes some of the best scones in the tri-state area. And maybe the world.
WHAT: A soft and buttery mozzarella sandwich and a savory-sweet jam to be its friend.
HOW: Make a chunky jam by cooking chopped sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers with vinegar, sugar, and strawberry jam. Next, tuck fresh mozzarella between two pieces of bread, soak the bread in an egg-and-cream mixture, then pan-fry the sandwiches until golden. Serve hot with a generous dollop of jam.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The combination of custardy, French toast-style bread and fresh mozzarella makes for a good sandwich. But slather it with a tangy tomato-pepper jam, and you have a great sandwich. We suggest making two batches of the jam and keeping it in the fridge, so that it can be the base of many more sandwich creations. —The Editors
about 2 cups jam and 2 sandwiches, or cut several small squares or triangles for appetizers
For the jam:
sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil and herbs, drained slightly
roasted red peppers, packed in water, drained slightly
For the sandwiches:
slices bread (I like Wave Hill’s small country boule)
slices fresh mozzarella, about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick
In a mini-chopper, place the tomatoes and process. Don’t purée them -- small chunks are good. Remove to a small sauce pot.
Place the red pepper in the mini-chopper and repeat. Add them to the tomatoes.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer the mixture and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.
Pour into a sterilized 1-pint jar. Let cool, then store in refrigerator.
For the sandwiches:
Place the sliced mozzarella on 2 slices of bread, then top with the two remaining slices.
In a shallow soup bowl or small casserole, beat the egg, cream, and salt with a fork.
Lay the sandwiches in the custard and press gently with a spatula. Carefully turn sandwiches, and repeat until most of the liquid is absorbed. If using less-dense bread, like white sandwich bread, reduce the soaking time.
In a medium nonstick skillet, melt the oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add the sandwiches and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom sides are nicely golden. Carefully turn the sandwiches with a spatula and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until bottoms are nicely golden and the cheese is melty. Add a bit more butter if needed.
Place a folded paper towel on a dish and briefly place sandwiches on it to absorb some of the grease.
The sandwiches can be kept warm in a low oven for about half an hour before serving.
Serve the sandwiches hot. Place them on a warm serving plate and cut in half, or cut them into smaller pieces if serving as hors d’oeuvres. Place a couple spoonfuls of the jam on the side of the sandwich, or place the jam in a bowl for guests to serve themselves. Alternately, top each appetizer portion with a dollop of the jam. Sprinkle with basil, any way you like -- torn, ribbons, or whole.