Food You Can Eat: Mozzarella in Carrozza and Welsh Rarebit

When a pedestrian grilled cheese just won't do

Image via San Pellegrino

These are two cousins to our humble grilled cheese sandwich from across the Atlantic, one from Italy, the other from the UK.

Mozzarella in Carrozza 

This makes 4 sandwiches.

You start with about 1/2 lb. of mozzarella. I used a little more to make the sandwiches even cheesier, and because the round I bought was 10 oz. Slice it, and let the slices sit on paper towel for a bit so they’re not so “juicy,” Ideally you have a round about the circumference of a piece of sandwich bread, so you only need to create 4 slices. If not, slice the mozzarella as best you can and apportion it 4 ways. Next, you need 8 slices of white bread. However, the bread has to be heartier than normal sandwich bread, so see if you can buy a loaf of somewhat rectangular bread from a bakery or the bakery aisle and slice the 8 slices yourself from the center, each about 1/2 inch thick. Remove the crusts.

Put the 1/4 of mozzarella on each of 4 slices and top with the remaining 4. Press down a little bit. Now (and this is why the fewer the mozzarella slices the better) dip all the edges of the four sandwiches in flour and then dip just the floured edges in cold water, and only briefly. You do this to create a seal so that when you’re frying the sandwiches there is less cheese leakage. This is genius and I’ve never heard of this before.

Beat three eggs and pour them in something wide and shallow. Each sandwich is placed in the egg for 10 minutes, then turned over and their other sides soak for 7 minutes, let’s say. This is why you need hearty bread. Again, ideally, you have something so wide and shallow that it can accommodate all 4 sandwiches at once. Otherwise you’ll be spending a lot of time watching cheesed-up bread soak in egg. I’ve never heard of this either, I just know the butter-the-bread way, but we are living la vita italiana here and things are not to be rushed.

Heat a little vegetable oil in your largest frying pan and try to put all 4 sandwiches in at once. Fry until they’re crunchy and golden brown on both sides. 

Welsh Rarebit

I think lots of people have heard of this (“Welsh Rabbit”) but not everyone knows what it is. It is an open-faced toasted cheese sandwich. 

Grate 8 oz. of cheddar cheese (2 cups) and beat one egg. In a small saucepan heat up but do not boil 1/2 cup of whole milk or half-and-half and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. You can add a little more mustard if you want; I do. Now mix 1 tbsp cornstarch with a little milk, a tsp at most, and add that to the milk/mustard in the saucepan. Stir in the grated cheese and now let it go until it boils a little. You should see the sauce thicken up slightly. Stir in the beaten egg slowly, and cook for another minute or two. Remove the pan from the heat so that the sauce will thicken further and the egg will cook a little more.

Toast 8 self-sliced slices of good “country” bread, preferably white, not wheat or oat. While the bread is toasting (I put these on a baking sheet in the broiler for a minute, then flip for another minute. I like to get these all at once and I don’t have an 8-slice toaster) tune into the BBC on your home radio and see how our boys in the Suez are making out. Utter a mild obscenity against Nasser if there are no ladies or children present.

Smear the sauce onto the bread and serve open-faced.

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8 Comments

  1. …tune into the BBC on your home radio and see how our boys in the Suez are making out. Utter a mild obscenity against Nasser if there are no ladies or children present.

    Good show, lads.

    • You occasionally see it as a bar snack in Italy, and in the same way that the bread absorbs the egg, the sandwich absorbs any alcohol you might have been drinking. Also, along the autostradas/highways they have gas stations with little cafés attached and you find them there, for some reason, along with the tabletop slot machines and a general air of menace. It’s another thing I don’t understand about Italy. The only time I’ve ever felt uncomfortable is in highway cafes in broad daylight, and I’ve walked alone through pretty sketchy areas of Rome and Genoa at night.

    • Given your screen name I’m going to assume you have been in an Italian or Italian-American home. Have you ever not been fed something, even if just dropping by to deliver something or pick up a friend?

      When I was in high school I had more-or-less unlimited use of the family mid-70s sedan in the evenings, which fit seven comfortably and nine in a pinch, so I was like a proto-Uber driver. When I would round up the gang to do something perfectly innocent on a Saturday night, like smoke pot in the cemetery and then carefully maneuver to go the movie theater close by, we always picked up “the Italian kid” (he was third-generation) last. Why? Because you couldn’t just pull up and honk. One of the parents would come out to the car and invite/demand us to come in, “you must be hungry,” (it’d be like post-dinner 7:30 and we’d want to go to a 9 PM showing at the movie theater) there’d be a sprots game on and that was it, we’d stumble out of their house at midnight or 1 in the morning, bloated but completely sober.

      Those parents were saints.

      • Yeah, I’m half-Italian and half-Sicilian.  My friends used to find reasons to be at my house.  I’d come home and find one or two of my friends sitting at the kitchen table bullshitting with my dad or grandpa, with food and a glass of wine in front of them.  This was when we were like 16.

        My grandma used to say to us, “You hungry?  You’re wasting away.”

        In the basement, there was a big fridge and there was always salamis and cheeses and a plate of something sweet.  We’d go down there all high af to watch the late movies on WGN in those pre-cable days and clean the fridge out.  Next time, the supplies would have been miraculously replenished.

  2. Hey does anyone know a solution — I had a piece supposed to go up today but I stupidly put tomorrow’s date in the schedule, and when I try to change it I get a 404, even though my dashboard says it’s there.

    I’ve DM’d Myo but I know the boss is busy…

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