Learning the Technique of Frying Via Yummy Mozzarella Bites

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Fried Mozzarella Bites: my one-hundred-and-second post.  The milestone of one hundred posts nearly slipped past me and it honestly took me by surprise.  The first go-round with these balls of cheese left little to be desired – they had it all… and fully expect for the betcha-can’t-eat-just-one phenomenon to take place.  Frying was a technique I was scared to attempt at one point – I am so thankful that I did not let fear stand in my way.

Serves Four

  • 12 small mozzarella balls, approximately one-inch in diameter
  • one half cup flour
  • three eggs, beaten
  • one cup panko breadcrumbs
  • one half tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • one tsp dried oregano
  • one tsp kosher salt
  • one quarter tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • canola oil for frying, approximately eight cups
  • one half cup warm marinara sauce
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish
  • minced fresh basil for garnish
Begin by patting the mozzarella balls dry with a paper towel.  Place the cheese on a plate and store, uncovered, in the refrigerator for up to two hours allowing this moisture-heavy cheese to dry out fully.  I picked up this tip from Giada De Laurentiis and it makes all the difference in the world as it helps the cheese remain intact while frying.  
After the cheese has spent its time in the fridge, it’s ready for breading!  Arrange three plates in a line and place the flour in the first dish, the three eggs (beaten) in the second dish and the panko breadcrumbs in the last dish.  Add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano to the panko breadcrumbs and toss to combine.  Roll each mozzarella ball in the flour, coating very lightly, then the eggs and finally the panko, coating completely.  Because the mozzarella is going to melt as soon as it hits the hot oil, we want to make sure the breading is thick and crunchy, keeping the cheese incased in a perfect little orb of goodness.  To do this, we will take the panko coated mozzarella and roll it back in the eggs and then once again through the breadcrumbs, ensuring a thick outer layer of crust.  Once all of the mozzarella balls have been breaded, set them in the freezer, uncovered, for twenty minutes (thank you Giada!).  This helps the breading to set and seal together, ideal for frying.  
While the mozzarella is hanging out in the freezer, pour your oil in a heavy bottom pot with tall sides and place on the stove.  Warm the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees.  I use small pieces of bread to test my oil’s temperature.  If the bread drops just a tad and then quickly rises back up and begins to sizzle, the oil is ready.  If it immediately burns to a crisp or sinks to the bottom of the pan and slowly simmers to the top, it is too hot/too cold.  A candy thermometer will take the guess-work out.  Using a spider strainer or ladle with a slotted base, CAREFULLY set the mozzarella balls into the oil.  This is where it is important that your pot has tall sides, keeping the oil from overflowing with the change in volume.  Fry for one minute, gently pushing the mozzarella balls around the pot.  Remove with the spider strainer and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.  Garnish the mozzarella bites with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil and serve with warm marinara sauce.
Lindsey McClave
Lindsey McClave has a deep love for food, wine and travel. While she has no intentions of becoming a chef or a sommelier and doesn't consider herself an expert in any culinary area, she is obsessed with learning.

She says, "the one thing I've taken away from my wine travels is that wine is meant for everyone - rich, poor, and everywhere in-between.” Whatever cooking becomes to you, she encourages you to find that foodie place, embrace it and run with it.
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