Friday, October 1, 2010

Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

A combination of seasoned dry bread crumbs and panko make for some yummy fried cheese sticks! Try them with a super easy homemade marinara sauce.
A combination of seasoned dry bread crumbs and panko make for some yummy fried cheese sticks! Try them with a super easy homemade marinara sauce.

Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

I have really been loving the panko bread crumbs ever since they became more widely available in our supermarkets.  Great for topping casseroles or on stuffed squash, they add such a nice crunch to dishes where you would have normally used a soft or dried bread crumb before, and I like crunch!  I still wanted to use the Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs here for the flavor, so I settled on using a bit of both, and it worked out great.

For these I just used the good ole snackin' string cheese and cut them in half. The hardest part of that is unwrapping each stick, but if you have a few little sous chefs running around in your household, that'd be a great job for them.  I tried them in both the deep fryer and a skillet, and while the skillet was much less messy, I liked the way that they fried up much better in the deep fryer, though be warned. The panko will likely leave behind a bit of a mess in your deep fryer oil.

Whichever way you choose, make sure to use fresh oil, and watch them closely because they literally only take seconds to brown up and if you go a millisecond too long, they will burst and ooze out cheese.  Be sure to drain them on a rack, because some cheese is likely to seep out anyway and will cause them to stick to paper towels.

I made up a very simple Rotel marinara dipping sauce that was just perfect for these.  A delicious finger food snack, perfect for snacking on while watching tv or the football game - hope you enjoy them!

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Recipe: Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep/Cook time: 15 min | Yield: 24 pieces

Ingredients
  • 12 mozzarella cheese sticks
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole/Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Cooking oil for pan or deep frying
  • Marinara Dipping Sauce (click link for recipe)
Instructions

Place a layer of parchment or nonstick foil on a sheet pan. Cut each of the cheese sticks in half crosswise, place on pan and freeze for 2 hours.

Heat enough canola oil in a skillet to completely cover cheese sticks or preheat a deep fryer to 360 degrees. Set up three bowls and a plate; place the flour and Cajun seasoning in the first bowl, beat together the egg and water in the second bowl, and mix together both of the bread crumbs in the third bowl.

Roll the cheese sticks first in the flour, then dip into the egg wash, roll in the bread crumbs and place onto the plate. Repeat with all of the cheese sticks. Place a rack over a tray of paper towels.

Drop several sticks into the hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd. Drop and fry (or cook and turn if using a skillet) only about 15-20 seconds total, or until light golden brown. Keep an eye on them because if you go too long the cheese will ooze out! Remove from the fryer and place onto the rack to drain.

Serve immediately with marinara dipping sauce.

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