Do you know how hard it is for a non-vegetarian to create a vegetarian sandwich that would please the masses, that also is unique and flavorful? It’s actually a lot harder than it sounds! When we got involved in opening our food truck, our partner who had never worked in a restaurant ever and had zero experience about anything involving food production, gave us his list of possible sandwiches he was wanting to serve from our tiny food truck. The list was at lease 15 sandwiches long with 3 being vegan, 4 being gluten-free, and the rest being un-creative hot and cold sandwiches. He was even insisting that one needed to be ham and American cheese! To say it was a hot mess was an understatement. Out of the 15 sandwiches he “needed” we chose one of them for our menu, the rest of them my husband and I created. The hubs came up with the idea of having a Caprese sandwich as our vegetarian sandwich but there’s nothing special about that. Plus, real, fresh mozzarella isn’t as cheap as a block of shreddable mozzarella. Then I had what I can only call a light bulb moment when I thought, “why don’t we deep fry the cheese?” and in an instant it was our best selling sandwich! The sandwich that people raved about all over our Yelp and Facebook pages about how amazing and “life changing” it was, but all things must come to an end and so did the truck. But the truck lives on in this sandwich, even though I can’t share this sandwich with you fresh off the truck, I can share it via our blog and that’s almost just as good.
Yield: 4 sandwiches
4 1in thick Slices of Mozzarella
1c Italian Bread Crumbs
Oil for Frying
4 Ciabatta Buns
2 Tomatoes, sliced
1 bunch of Basil, de-steamed
1T Balsamic Vinegar
To Start: Toast the buns with butter and set aside. Mix the mayonnaise and vinegar and let it sit in the fridge until it’s time to build the sandwiches. In a cast iron skillet heat about an inch deep of good frying oil (I use peanut or Crisco) heat until it’s at 375°.
Step One: Set up the three-step dredge, flour on one plate, beaten eggs on another, and bread crumbs on the last. Season the flour and eggs with salt and pepper.
Step Two: Pat the mozzarella dry then dip into the flour, eggs, then bread crumbs; making sure that the cheese is completely covered with bread crumbs if you want a thicker crust dip it back to the eggs and bread crumbs. You can do this part ahead of time and set them in the fridge to fry off later. But don’t let them sit longer then a few hours or they will become soggy.
Step Three: Carefully lay the breaded cheese in the oil and cook for approx 30-45 seconds on each side removing from the oil once both sides are golden brown and the cheese is just starting to melt. Pay close attention that it doesn’t get too cooked and the cheese starts to leak out of the crust. Lay them on a paper towel and let cool for a minute before placing on the sammich.
Building the Sandwich:
Step One: Spread the balsamic mayonnaise on both sides of the bun.
Step Two: Lay the cheese on the bottom bun
Step Three: Top the cheese with basil and tomatoes, finish with the top bun.
Serve with potato chips