March 01, 2010

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks with Herbed Tomato Sauce



Ingredients:
For the mozzarella sticks:
9 oz package low moisture mozzarella sticks*
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups matzo meal or bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
salt
pepper

For the sauce:
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon minced oregano
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:
For the mozzarella sticks: Pour the eggs into a shallow bowl. Pour the bread crumbs into a shallow bowl and stir in the spices. Dip each stick into the egg then the bread crumbs then into the egg and then the crumbs again. Arrange the double coated mozzarella sticks in a single layer on a tray or plate. Cover loosely in foil. Refrigerate one hour or until the sticks are very cold. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a skillet. Fry 1-2 minutes on each side, turning once. If frying in batches, keep the sticks in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to use them. If you have problems with cheese oozing out during the frying process, roll them in bread crumbs again prior to frying. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

For the sauce: While the mozzarella sticks are being refrigerated, start the sauce. Heat the olive in a saucepan. Saute the onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and cook through.


*I don't normally buy mozzarella sticks (aka string cheese) but the package I had was a lower fat variety and there were 12, .75 oz, sticks in the package. You could also cut a block of low moisture mozzarella into sticks.

Note: If you'd rather bake than fry, bake the sticks for 7 minutes in single layer on a baking sheet at 350.

My thoughts:
I hadn't given fried mozzarella sticks a thought until I was at a show and a friend ordered some. How could I forgotten that melty cheesy goodness? I immediately thought about how I could make them at home. I knew I couldn't use the fresh mozzarella I buy at the Italian store because of its high moisture content so I went to the grocery store to buy a block of the packaged stuff when I noticed the packages of individually wrapped mozzarella "string cheese" sticks. While I try to avoid buying things that come in that much packaging, I did think it would give me more uniform results so I went ahead and used them. The ones I used were fairly short which made them perfect for use right out of the bag. If you buy snack sized mozzarella sticks that are fairly long, you might need to cut them in half. If the sticks are too long it is difficult to lift them out of the pan without bending which cracks the crust and allows the cheese to ooze out.

Mozzarella sticks can be sort of bland so I used plenty of dried (to keep the moisture level down) herbs in my plain matzo meal for zesty flavor. I double dipped the sticks to insure that no part of the cheese peeked out, which is essential. If any cheese is exposed, it will ooze in the pan and create a huge mess. Not appealing. But don't let that discourage you from making mozzarella sticks, it really wasn't difficult at all, it was just a matter of finding the right technique. Chilling the cheese keeps it from melting before the crumbs turn golden and pretty much insures a excellent finished product. Anyway, for a little bit of effort you can make homemade mozzarella sticks which are more flavorful and fresher than anything you'd be likely to encounter out.

23 comments:

  1. Mozzarella sticks...yum!

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  2. Oohhh I always buy them but now I am gonna try to make them myself. Man that looks so delicious!

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  3. Oh yeah, hello. :-) I used to order mozzarella sticks all the time as a kid, and lately I've been buying the frozen ones. Never occured to me to make my own!

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  4. These look really good! Do you think you could use different cheeses for these? Could you go with something like Emmenthal or Cheddar or would that be too much?

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  5. Monika-
    Another kind of cheese could possibly work but it would have to be very low moisture. It would also have to be a cheese that melts quickly.

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  6. These look like the BEST creation ever. I love mozzarella sticks and my friends and I used to get them in college all the time until we realized there were probably about 84940 calories in an order of them.

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  7. Okay, I am making a huge batch of these and freezing them. Thanks for making them!

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  8. Brilliant! I've never even thought of making them, but now I really want some.

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  9. superb, the ultimate munchies at the end of winter. thanks! :)

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  10. All i have to say to this is YUM!

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  11. These look increadibly good! I haven't had mozzarella sticks in ages...so tempted to try this recipe!

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  12. I attempted mozzarella sticks once, a long, long time ago, and failed miserably. I think this refrigeration thing before frying is the key - that and you shallow-fried them. They look gorgeous. My husband will be SO happy if I make these for him. Cheese sticks are practically his favorite food group!

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  13. I have never had a cheese stick before. I'd love to bake some up as I'm afraid of frying, so I'll try this out sometime. Yum!

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  14. Oh neat - so are you saying those are actually individual string cheeses?

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  15. These are my mom's fave thing ever. It would be great to make them homemade! I saw your photo on Flickr and wondered how you got them so uniform. Cheese sticks! Now I get it!

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  16. Oh hello. Need to make these stat!

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  17. Great recipe ! My kids are going to love it !

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  18. Great recipe, thanks for sharing! I try not to fry though, and I see you noted that baking is an option...but would they still come out well? Have you tried baking them? Please let me know, I would hate to buy the mozzarella sticks and have them come out soggy or so-on!

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  19. Hi Katherine
    I have baked them. They are okay baked and not soggy but they are much better fried.

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  20. Making these right now! I was considering baking them, but I might as well just go the distance and fry them. A soggy mozzarella stick is not my friend.

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  21. Thought I'd let you know these are my family's new favorite. I've made them twice now. First time, I had a bit of an issue of cheese escaping but we all still loved the coating and the kids loved the sauce. Last night I made them again, with panko bread crumbs, which I then became unsure about because even with two dippings I could still see the cheese. But I shoved them in the freezer anyways (I was a bit pressed on time for the hour chilling in the fridge), while I made chicken wings, and then I put them back through the panko bread crumbs and made sure to shallow fry them and they were AMAZING! Thanks for this recipe!!

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