Back in the days of yore, before the world of a gluten-free diet, Daddy would often take us to Red Lobster on our birthday.  (Yes, “our,” my sister and I are twins!)  I always got snow crab legs, and filled up on their fantastic biscuits before filling up yet again on my entree; my sister always got an order of mozzarella sticks for her entree, and filled up on that, and then I would fill up a third time on what she had left over.  (Yes, I turned out to be the kind of undiagnosed celiac whose appetite shot through the roof, and she turned out to be the kind whose appetite plummeted through the basement; however did you guess?)  :-)  Daddy would mix things up with a little more variety, but he often got snow crab legs, too.  Nowadays, of course, I can get snow crab legs from the store whenever I want, but it isn’t quite the same without those biscuits and mozzarella sticks.  So here’s one of the two, at least!

It was Ginny’s experience in a restaurant kitchen that let me pull these together at last:  She commented that whenever she made them, she found she had to use several layers to bread them, or else the cheese would just melt and ooze out of its new shell into the frying oil.  Talk about gross.  But, as long as you put the cheese through a round of egg wash and flour mix before rolling them in bread crumbs, and make sure to coat every part of the cheese thoroughly each time, these are a piece of cake.  They’re best fresh, and I mean fresh.  I’ll often set up to make a batch of them, and call out to everyone as each set of five or six comes out of the oil — come get them while they’re hot!  If you like to dip them in a nice marinara sauce, more power to you, but I like them plain and delicious.

After all that gushing I guess I’d better get to the recipe, huh?

Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Yield:  between 2-3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 dozen string cheese sticks, OR a small block of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup dough mix
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs (possibly more)
  • 1 T milk (possibly more)
  • 2-3 cups coarse GF bread crumbs
  • some powdered parmesan cheese
  • oil for frying

Directions:

1.  Fill your fryer or electric skillet with a inch or so of oil, and start it heating to 350 degrees Farenheit.

2.  Next, you’ll either want to unwrap your string cheese, or cut your block of mozzarella into pieces about the size and shape of string cheese.  Set up three different bowls, each large enough you can lay a piece of cheese down flat in the bottom:  In the first bowl, combine the dough mix, parsley, basil, salt, oregano, marjoram, and black pepper; this is your “flour.”  In the second bowl, combine the eggs and milk to make an egg wash.  In the third bowl, just put the breadcrumbs.

3.  Now to bread each cheese stick:  First, roll the cheese thoroughly in the egg wash.  Second, roll it in the flour mix.  Third, roll it in the egg wash a second time.  Finally, roll it in the bread crumbs.  Set on a plate or paper towel until it’s time to go in the fryer, and do the next cheese stick in the same way, till they’re all breaded.

4.  Set up a drain plate by your frying oil, with some paper towels or brown paper to let the hot oil drain off once they’re cooked.  You’ll also want the powdered parmesan handy to sprinkle on the hot cheese sticks.

5.  Once the oil’s heated, use a slotted spatula or slotted spoon to carefully lower the cheese sticks into the oil, keeping them away from each other so they don’t touch.  Let them cook about a minute on each side, using the spatula or spoon to turn them over after the first minute.  When the bread crumbs are a nice, dark, toasty golden brown on all sides, they’re done — fish them out!

6.  Sprinkle the hot cheese sticks with parmesan right away, and take them to the table or call everyone over — they’re done, time to get them while they’re hot!