When the hubby and I were in Chicago this fall, we ate at Harry Caray’s our first night in town. We’d been traveling all day, we were starving and cold, and I just wasn’t going to make it until the entree without an appetizer.
I was really hungry for cheese and tomato sauce (as I am about 90% of the time), so we ordered the fried mozzarella. But instead of the standard cheese sticks we were expecting – not that I have ANYTHING against cheese sticks or fried cheese of any nature – we received these crisp little medallions of fresh mozzarella.
This is my attempt to re-create that appetizer. My secret weapon: panko. Panko is (are?) Japanese-style breadcrumbs that are bigger, lighter, and crisper than their Italian counterpart.
When frying cheese, I’ve found that it’s usually a good idea to bread the cheese, and then freeze it for a few hours. This allows the coating to set and the cheese to harden slightly, so your cheese is less likely to melt into a gooey pile in your frying pan. Not that I have a problem with gooey piles of cheese.
My version isn’t quite as pretty as Harry Caray’s, because my cheese isn’t quite the same shape. Mine has more of a rustic look. Most of my food does.
Fried Fresh Mozzarella
4-6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in ¼ - ½” slices, and then cut into smaller pieces
1 egg, beaten
¾ c. panko
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt
¼ c. vegetable or other light-colored oil
1 c. marinara sauce, for dipping
1. Combine panko, Italian seasoning ,and salt. Dip mozzarella in egg mixture, then coat with panko mixture on both sides.
2. Lay coated cheese flat on plate. Freeze two hours.