I have tried the fried cheese at just about every restaurant in the Seattle area. I love it. In sticks, wedges or balls. With marinara, sprinkled with parmesan, panko, breadcrumbs or beer battered. I would eat it in a box. I would eat it with a fox. I would eat it here or there. I would eat it anywhere. Hmmmm. Might be reading too much Seuss to my kiddos. Seriously though. Melty cheese in a crunchy shell is absolutely glorious. There’s a fancy pants fried bocconcini (mozzarella balls) recipe floating around on Pinterest, but I figured there had to be an easier way than draining the cheese, patting it dry etc. And I found it in my fridge. String cheese. Genius! Still melty and delicious, without needing a special trip to the store for a $20 bucket of bocconcini.
You can easily halve this recipe so you aren’t “forced” to eat 40 cheese balls all by yourself. Or not.
Get three bowls and put flour in one, eggs/milk in another and the panko mixture in the third.
Cut your string cheese into quarters, like this.
Then dip in the flour, egg and panko – then repeat.
Drop into heated oil and fry until golden.
Serve with warm tomato sauce. My favorite, and I don’t have to tip the waiter.
Fried Mozzarella Balls
3-4 cups vegetable oil, depending on type of pan you will be frying the cheese in
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon italian seasoning (optional)
10 mozzarella sticks (string cheese)
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups panko
1. Cut each string cheese into four small pieces. Once they get the panko breading on them, they will be a lot bigger.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
3. Put the egg mixture and flour in separate wide, shallow bowls. Combine the panko with the teaspoon of salt, italian seasoning and Parmesan in another wide, shallow bowl.
4. Roll the cheese in the flour, dip into the egg mixture and coat with the panko, shaking off the excess after each step.
5. Repeat the breading process one more time for each cheese piece.
6. In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Or, just use your deep fryer if you have one.
7. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden, about 45 seconds (or until golden brown-watch them carefully as oven temperatures may vary).
8. Transfer the fried cheese to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and black pepper. Place the cheese on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while frying the remaining cheese.
9. Serve with your favorite tomato sauce, warmed.