Casillo's supremely appetizing alternative to frozen factory
made mozzarella sticks.
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and cut into 2- x
Sunflower oil for frying
the eggs in a shallow bowl with a pinch of salt. Place the
flour on a plate and the bread crumbs on another plate. One by
one, dip each cheese strip in the flour and then in the eggs,
shaking off excess flour and letting excess egg drip back into
the bowl. Then dip into the bread crumbs, covering completely
with the crumbs. Set aside the cheese strips to dry. When you
are ready to fry, heat 1/4-inch oil in a large skillet over
high heat until it reaches 350 degrees, or until a 1/2-inch
cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Working in batches, if
necessary, to avoid overcrowding, fry as many cheese strips as
will fit in a single layer until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn
over and fry the other sides until golden, about 3 minutes
longer. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Add
more oil to the skillet, if necessary, and continue until all
the cheese strips are fried.
TIP for frying cheese:It's important to make sure cheese is completely covered
when it is fried; otherwise it will melt and leak into the
oil, which will produce a strong smell.
Casillo family version of the famous salad created in 1924 at
Caesar's Place in Tijuana, Mexico, by Italian immigrant and
restaurant owner, Caesar Cardini. Grandma's is better.
the salad: 1 garlic clove, cut in half
4 slices Italian bread, toasted
1 head romaine lettuce
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
the dressing: 3 anchovy fillets in oil, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Rub one garlic
half gently over the toasted bread. Cut the bread into
bite-sized pieces; set aside. Rub the remaining garlic around
the inside of a large salad bowl. To make the dressing, mash
the anchovies in the bowl with a fork. Beat in the olive oil,
vinegar, and lemon juice. Tear the lettuce into individual
leaves and add to the bowl with the dressing. Toss the leaves
until coated. Sprinkle the Parmesan and toasted garlic
for spicing up salads:
you are making a green or mixed salad, turn it into something
special with some herbs. Try adding chives, cress, watercress,
parsley, fennel, or even a couple of basil leaves.
created this simple, luscious dish for his wife Carol one
sunny afternoon when their girls were away. It works like a
charm, especially when served with a bottle of dry white wine.
2 garlic cloves cut in half
2 medium yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced
5-7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
' cup brandy
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 pound dry linguine
1/4 cup light cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or fresh basil
oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and
sauté until golden, 1-2 minutes; remove and discard the
garlic. Add the peppers to the skillet and sauté until
tender, about 5 minutes; remove and set aside. Reduce the heat
to medium-low. Put the flour on a plate. Lightly dredge the
shrimp and scallops in the flour. Add the shrimp to the
skillet and sauté until they turn pink and curl, about 10
minutes; remove and set aside. Add the scallops to the skillet
and fry until just opaque, about 1' minutes on each side;
remove and set aside. Increase the heat to high. Add the
brandy to the skillet and bubble until reduced by half. Stir
in the tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons water and leave
the sauce to bubble a couple of minutes longer.
bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the
linguine, stir, and continue boiling until the linguine is
firm-tender, about 10 minutes, or according to package
directions. Reduce the heat under the sauce to low. Return the
peppers, shrimp, and scallops to the sauce and warm through
gently. Stir in the cream and take off the heat. Season to
taste with salt and pepper. Drain the linguine, shaking off
the liquid. Stir into the sauce and sprinkle with the parsley
to make and open to many variations, this one-pot dish is a
Casillo family staple.
beef bones and beef chuck
2 large celery stalks, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (12 ounces) cream of tomato soup, or 1 can (2 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
beef bones and meat, celery, carrots, onion, soup or paste,
and salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Pour in enough water
to cover and bring to a boil, skimming the surface as
necessary. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the
meat is tender, 1' to 2 hours. Strain the soup through a
colander set over a large bowl in the sink. Remove and reserve
the beef chunks, but discard the other solid ingredients.
Using a large metal spoon, skim any fat from the surface of
the broth. Return the broth to the washed saucepan over
medium-high heat and heat through.
a more interesting version of Grandma Flo's Red Soup, add
some of the following ingredients:
Bring the strained broth to a boil, add a handful of
pastina, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Bring the strained broth to a boil, add a peeled and diced
potato and chopped celery stalk to the broth and cook
until tender, about 30 minutes.
Dice some of the cooked meat and add it to the strained
Add a cup of cooked barley to the broth before serving.
Recipes from TONY
CASILLO'S FAMILY COOKBOOK
A Treasure Trove of Recipes and
from a Dad to his Daughters by Tony Casillo (Reader's Digest; May 2003; $30.00/hardcover).