Melanzane In Carrozza (breaded eggplant)

Melanzane in carrozza are a delicious and traditional Italian appetizer made with two slices of breaded eggplant stuffed with melty mozzarella and prosciutto cotto (ham). Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, this recipe is a winner for any Italian themed meal.

Melanzane in carrozza pilled in a plate with some basil leaves and a wedge of lemon.

What Are Melanzane In Carrozza?

Melanzane in carrozza is a popular Italian appetizer made with with two slices of eggplant, stuffed with mozzarella or any other melty cheese available, and then breaded. The sandwich is then deep fried until the outside is brown and crunchy, but keeping its creaminess on the inside.

This dish is a version or the popular and traditional Campanian dish mozzarella in carrozza which basically is a deep fried mozzarella sandwich, where the bread slices are replaced with grilled eggplant pieces.

Italian breaded eggplant, aka melanzane in carrozza, piled in a plate with one piece opened and showing some melty cheese in the middle.

Melanzane in carrozza is served in Italy mostly as an antipasto, but sometimes also as a mail meal with a green salad on the side. Some version of this traditional dish include other stuffings, such as slices of prosciutto cotton (ham), salame, or other Italian cold cuts.

Best Eggplants to use

Italian eggplants are perfect to make melanzane in carrozza, so are the graffiti type, just make sure they’re at least 3-inch (about 8cm) large, so you can easily make the sandwiches.

A wood box with various types of Italian eggplants.

Bitter eggplants

Eggplants can be bitter sometimes and there are some reasons for it. One of them is because they’re too old. I’ve found bitter eggplants only when they’re not in season so here’s what we do to get rid of that unpleasant flavour:

  • Cut eggplants as the recipe calls. In a large bowl, place a colander and make a layer with the eggplant slices.
  • Sprinkle with a good amount of coarse salt, then make another eggplant layer and again- sprinkle with salt. Repeat with all eggplant slices until gone.
  • Place a small bowl on top of the vegetables and fill it with water; the weight will press down the eggplant and help to release the brine. Let it rest for at least 1 hour.
  • Rinse the eggplant with cold water, then pat dry them with a clean kitchen towel and proceed with the recipe.
Eggplant sliced layer and sprinkled with coarse salt on a colander.

Breaded eggplant recipe

BEFORE STARTING:

  • Whisk the eggs with milk, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Place about 1 cup of flour in a plate and 2 cups of Italian bread crumbs on another
  • If bought large slices of ham, cut them into small pieces that can fit into a slice of eggplant.
  • Slice the mozzarella into small pieces too.

Cut the eggplants into 0,20-inch (1/2 cm) slices. You can follow our recommendations above or just continue with the recipe if you using on-season eggplants.

Eggplant sliced on a cutting board.

Heat up a grill pan over high heat. Grill the eggplants on both sides until slightly soft and some charred marks appear (about 3 minutes per side). Place in a plate and allow to cool down.

Three slices of eggplant grilled on a grilling pan.

Take a slice of eggplant and make a layer with ham. Then add a layer with mozzarella.

Adding mozzarella on top of ham.

Next, cover the mozzarella with more ham. This will help to prevent the cheese from coming out when frying.

Adding more ham on top of mozzarella.

Use another slice of grilled eggplant to cover and make the sandwich. Then, carefully take it and dredge it in flour coating well all sides. Gentyl tap off excess of flour.

Dredging an eggplant sandwich into flour.

Next, dip the sandwich into the egg mixture. Use a fork or tongs to do this, just make sure to do this step with care as the sandwich could break up.

Dipping the eggplant sandwich into the egg mixture using a fork.

Finally, coat the sandwich with bread crumbs pressing gently with your fingers to help the crumbs stick well. Repeat the whole process of flour, egg and crumbs. This doubled breading will help mozzarella in carrozza to hold better the stuffing.

Breaded eggplant sandwich being dipped into the egg mixture again.

Transfer all melanzane in carrozza to a plate and allow the coating to set for at least 30 minutes.

Melanzane in carrozza before frying in a large plate.

In a large frying pan heat up a generous amount of oil. Working in batches, fry eggplant sandwiches until brown and crispy.

Two melanzane in carrozza frying on a pan.

Place melanzane in carrozza on a cooling rack placed onto a lined pepper plate to absorb excess of oil. Let them sit for 5 minutes then serve when they’re still warm.

Fried melanzane in carrozza piled on a cooling rack.

Recipe notes

  • You can make this dish ahead of time. Bread the eggplants and place them on a plate. Cover with cling film and place them in the fridge. You can leave them there for 2-3 days, then fry them as the recipe suggest.
  • Do you want a lighter version? Spray a ove tray with olive oil, place the breaded eggplants and then add on top a little bit of oil. Cook at 200°C/390F until brown and crispy.
  • Make it a main dish by serving with a green salad on the side.
  • If you want a vegetarian version, leave out the ham.
Piled melanzane in carrozza on a plate with some ranch sauce on a bowl, on the side.

How To Serve

Melanzane in carrozza are mostly served as an appetizer just as they come out of the pan. In Italy is not customary to drizzle or dip them in any kind of sauces. But that doesn’t mean you can’t serve them with a simple marinara sauce or your favorite ranch sauce brand.

And if you want to go all fusion (as I always do with my favorite food), try this fake guacamole salsa, it is perfect! Or also this cilantro lime crema sauce.

But maybe you want to stay authentic and serve melanzane in carrozza as a main meal with some authentic side dish? Try this insalata di pomodori (Italian tomato salad) or this cicoria alla romana.

Melanzane in carrozza recipe.

Melanzane In Carrozza (breaded eggplant)

Those breaded eggplant are a wonderful appetizer to everyday meals. A crunchy sandwich made with two slices of eggplant, crispy on the outside and stuffed with melty mozzarella and prosciutto cotto (ham).
PREP 30 minutes
COOK 30 minutes
resting time 35 minutes
TOTAL 1 hour 35 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 6
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 2 large eggplants (about 1 pound each)
  • 7 oz ham (thin sliced and cut into small pieces)
  • 10.5 oz mozzarella (sliced)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • All purpose flour (as needed)
  • Italian bread crumbs (as needed)
  • Oil for frying (canola or sunflower)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Slice the eggplants into 0,20-inch (½ cm). Read notes.
  • Heat up a grill pan over high heat and grill the eggplant slices on both sides until slightly soft and charred. Place in a plate and allow to cool down.
  • In a medium bowl whisk eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then prepare two more bowls, one with flour and one more with bread crumbs.
  • Make a sandwich with 2 slices of grilled eggplants stuffing with ham > mozzarella > ham again.
  • Take the eggplant sandwich and dredge in flour coating well on all sides. Gently tap off excess of flour.
  • Next, using a fork or tongs, dip the sandwich into the egg mixture.
  • Coat the sandwich with bread crumbs pressing gently with your fingers to help the crumbs stick well.
  • Repeat the steps of flour, egg and crumbs, making a double bread coat.
  • Transfer breaded eggplant sandwiches to a plate and let them sit for at least 30 minutes. Read notes.
  • In a frying pan heat up a generous amount of oil.
  • Working in batches, fry eggplant sandwiches until brown and crispy.
  • Place the fried eggplant sandwiches on a rack and let them sit for 5 minutes before serving.

NOTES

  • You can get rid of the bitterness some eggplant have, just slice them and layer them with a sprinkle of salt in a large colander. Allow to rest for at least 1 hour. Rinse the vegetables with cold water and pat dry them well. Use them as the recipe calls.
  • You can also make ahead the eggplant sandwiches and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Then fry as the recipe calls.
  • Nutrition info doesn’t include oil for frying.
Nutrition
Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 943mg | Potassium: 562mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 534IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 318mg | Iron: 2mg
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