Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur
After the conclusion of my sweet adventures in deep frying, I wanted to do one savory dish before finally discarding the oil and swearing off deep-frying for at least a month or two. My initial thought was onion rings, but my roommate doesn’t really like them. Mozzarella sticks, on the other hand, are universally popular amongst folks I cook for.
As I often do, I searched Food Network’s website for a recipe to give me some guidance. I quickly found a highly-rated recipe. The biggest change I made was that, as I had no fresh mozzarella on hand, I did substitute conveniently-shaped pieces of string cheese!
The string cheese works beautifully. It holds together very well, so you still get a soft, gooey cheese inside, but it’s slightly firmer than some mozzarella sticks, rather than melting too much. The double-dipped coating gets deliciously crispy with deep-frying. Served with marinara sauce, I can honestly say these may be the best mozzarella sticks I’ve ever had.
Fried Cheese Sticks
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
6 sticks of string cheese (mozzarella), each cut in half
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Two tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp salt
One egg, beaten
Canola oil for frying
Marinara sauce for dipping (optional)
Mix together breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, and salt in a shallow bowl. Dip each piece of string cheese in egg, then in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat once. Place dipped cheese on a baking sheet. Freeze for at least two hours.
Heat canola oil in a deep saucepan. Once hot enough for deep frying, add the cheese sticks. Cook until golden-brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve while still warm, with marinara sauce if desired.
Makes twelve fried cheese sticks. Cost for the whole recipe is $2.04, plus the cost of oil for deep-frying. Calories per cheese stick before frying are 61; with deep-frying, I guesstimate they are closer to 120.