Friday, March 14, 2014

Homemade Deep Fried Mozzarella Sticks

I saw a recipe for mozzarella sticks on the food channel a few years ago and decided to make home made versus buying those frozen kind in a bag or box. Now I will never make them any other way. The trick is to freeze your cheese before frying it and to get your oil the right temperature. Nothing like the frozen ones you buy...these are so much better!

Homemade Deep Fried Mozzarella Sticks
1 cup Italian-style dried breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (16-ounce) blocks pasteurized mozzarella cut into 4 by 1/2-inch sticks
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil
4 cups Marinara Sauce, recipe follows

Stir together the bread crumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan and the salt. Dip the cheese sticks in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Roll the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Then repeat the process a second time for each stick. Cover and place in freezer for about 2 hours or until frozen.

Take cheese sticks out of the freezer and repeat last coating of egg and bread crumb mixture. Do not thaw cheese first. Put back in the freezer for about an hour.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat to at least 325 degrees. If you oil is not hot enough, it will not bubble and sizzle when you drop the sticks in. If it is too hot the cheese will ooze out before they have fried on the outside. So keep your oil hot by frying only a few sticks at a time...maybe 8 or so.

Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve with the Marinara Sauce.

Marinara Sauce (recipe from The Food Network)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste.

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