Summary: Little nuggets of fresh mozzarella cheese, known as bocconcini, are breaded and deep-fried, then paired with a piquant tomato sauce for dipping. Serve as part of an antipasti platter for an Italian-inspired meal.
Fried Mozzarella with Spicy Marina Dipping Sauce
- For the sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the 1/2 cup olive oil.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft but not browned, about 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes and their juices and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat an oven to 200°F.
- For the fried mozzarella: Drain the cheese from its liquid. Place the cheese on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry.
- If your cheese balls seem pretty big, halve or quarter them into bite-size pieces. Once they get the panko breading on them, they will be a lot bigger.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
- Put the egg mixture and bread crumbs in separate wide, shallow bowls. Combine the panko with the teaspoon of salt and Parmesan in another wide, shallow bowl. (*If you only have one shallow bowl, use it for the panko. It will help you immensely with the breading process.)
- Roll the cheese in the flour, dip into the egg mixture and coat with the bread crumbs, shaking off the excess after each step.
- Repeat the breading process one more time for each cheese piece.
- 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.
- Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden, about 45 seconds (or until golden brown-watch them carefully as oven temperatures may vary). If you notice that your thermometer’s reading decreases, wait for a little while until the oil gets back up to the proper temperature.
- 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.
- Serve with the warm tomato sauce.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6