Not too long ago I was browsing around Facebook, like one is prone to do, when I came across a video on my cousin Katelyn’s (second cousin?) page of an appetizer to beat all appetizers. The video showed a tall and delicious stack of deep fried mozzarella. It was stringy and gooey in all of the right ways. My mouth may have instantly started drooling without control. Katelyn and a few others were discussing how delicious it looked, but they wished for a healthier version.
My Italian soul I couldn’t resist the opportunity to tackle a mozzarella challenge! So I thought about it for a few days and grabbed the necessary cheese when I hit the grocery store this week.
I’ve never been terribly awesome at deep frying anything, nor would that make the dish healthier, so I knew that I was going to bake the cheese. This wouldn’t be my first spin at the baked cheese rodeo. A few years ago I saw a Pinterest recipe for homemade mozzarella cheese sticks that I attempted…and FAILED. They came out of the over a big mess. A tasty mess, mind you, but not exactly something I would put on the table.
Here’s What I Learned
Freeze the cheese. It’s that simple! By freezing the cheese it doesn’t melt the instant that it is plunged into a hot oven. I do advise cutting your block, ball, or stick of cheese before freezing because it is very hard to chop a ball of mozzarella one it is solid. This, I also learned the hard way.
This recipe from start to finish is so simple (and relatively quick!) that it would be a great way to get your kids in the kitchen, should you be so inclined!
Start with the Aioli
I used to think of sauces and garnishes as extra work that you don’t need. Thankfully the older I get (and the more Top Chef I watch!) the more I realize that they are an important part of a meal. They add that little something that your dish is missing. As for extra work, this took me less than 10 minutes and that was with taking pictures!
Blend the basil, garlic, egg yolk, and lemon juice until mostly smooth. Add olive oil and continue blending. Store until ready to use.
Doesn’t get much easier my friends!
On to the Cheese!
Who doesn’t love and ooey gooey baked cheese? If you don’t, you don’t belong here 🙂
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees then dredge the cheese slices in flour then egg white then bread crumbs before placing them on a lightly greased cookie sheet. I topped mine with a quick turn of salt and pepper just to give it a little seasoning. I want the cheese to really be the star of this treat.
Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven for 4 minutes then flip the slices and continue baking for another 4-5 minutes. When you pull the cheese out the bread crumbs will have only changed color a little bit and the cheese will start oozing from the inside. This healthier version of a mozzarella stack won’t look the same, but it tastes delicious.
The Final Product
This was an absolutely perfect and delicious appetizer! I will be making this for my next big family get together for sure. Does this seem like a recipe you could try on your own? Too hard? Too easy? Not something your family would like?
Give me a Challenge!
I had a lot of fun taking this food challenge and making it my own and now I want another one! Leave me a challenge in the comments below and I will pick one to try in the near future. The challenge can be anything you want. A list of ingredients…a unique spice…a spin on an old favorite. The world is your oyster!
- Handful Chopped Basil
- 2 Cloves Chopped Garlic
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 1/2 Lemon - juiced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Egg Whites
- Bread Crumbs
- Salt and Pepper
- Add basil, garlic, egg yolks, and lemon juice to blender and pulse until smooth
- Add olive oil and pulse again
- Pour into covered dish until ready to use
- Cut mozzarella into pieces and freeze
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Prep cookie sheet with foil and cooking spray
- Set up dredging station - flour, egg white, then bread crumbs
- Remove cheese from freezer
- Dredge cheese and place on prepared cookie sheet
- Bake for 4 minutes, then flip and bake for 4-5 more minutes
- Plate and garnish with aioli and fresh basil
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