Like a mozzarella stick if someone sat on it by accident. Flattening the shape means more crunchy-crunch and the same molten, melty middle. It also means that the whole process becomes way easier, simple enough to whip up for a weeknight dinner or even a weekday lunch. No meat-pounding, no deep-frying, no fuss. The secret is pre-sliced, low-moisture mozzarella. When you stack a few pieces, you end up with a cutlet lookalike—the cheater’s version of sliced, pounded veal, as in traditional wiener schnitzel. Serve this with a bright, peppy salad (say, arugula with lemon juice or radicchio with sherry vinegar). And if you want to serve two instead of one, easy-peasy: Just double the amount of mozzarella, make two cheese stacks, and double the amount of panko. Everything else can stay the same. —Emma Laperruque
- Prep time 5 minutes
- Cook time 5 minutes
- serves 1
2 to 4
slices low-moisture mozzarella
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
- Stack enough mozzarella slices to reach about ¾ centimeter in height. (For me, this is three, but it depends on how thick your slices are.) Gently press down on the stack to encourage the slices to stick together.
- Set up a dredging station in this order, leading toward the stove: Flour on a rimmed plate; egg cracked into a shallow bowl or rimmed plate and whisked until smooth; panko on another rimmed plate. Generously season each with salt and pepper.
- Set a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to thickly coat the bottom.
- While that heats, dredge your mozzarella: Coat the mozzarella stack in flour, then egg, then panko. Press firmly at the last station, so as many crumbs as possible adhere.
- Drop a piece of panko into the oil. If it instantly sizzles, you’re ready to cook. If not, wait a little longer.
- When the oil is hot, add the breaded mozzarella. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, until deeply browned around the edges and golden in the middle. Carefully flip, then cook for another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side until you get that same golden-middle, browned-edges color here.
- Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and quickly blot both sides and remove excess oil. Eat immediately.