Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mozzarella Sticks

My very first summer in the Midwest, before I started working, my then-boyfriend, now-husband decided it would be fun to go to the Wisconsin Dells for an extended weekend to get in our last summer kicks in before buckling down and joining the ‘real world.’

Before moving to Illinois, I had never heard of the Dells. The hubby would try to explain it to me, but nothing could prepare me for when we drove down the main street with water parks on either side, and having a military-grade Duck pull up beside us with its tour group in tow.

The trip itself was wonderful. We went on our very own Duck tour of the Dells, visited the water parks (including a ride on a water slide that was 10 stories tall), attended a magic show and went to the famous Tommy Bartlett Air and Water Show, they’re famous for the pyramid of water skiers.

We’ve been back to the area several times since then – but only once was it to visit the water parks. The other times we just happened to be passing though and had to make our obligatory stop at a famous local restaurant and micro-brewery called Moosejaw. According to the hubs, if you go to the dells, you go to this place to eat.

On my first visit, I knew that this place had to be good. There was a line out the door and around their porch. Thankfully we could camp out at the downstairs bar and had gotten there early enough that we were seated by the time we actually got hungry.

I have never had a better mozzarella stick than the ones they serve at Moosejaw. They’re prepared almost in an eggroll style, instead of the more traditional breading of other mozzarella sticks. And, maybe it’s because we were in Wisconsin, but the cheese was just worlds above any other stick I’ve ever had.

If we know we are passing through the dells on a trip, we will usually plan the timing so that we can stop at Moosejaw for a meal. I’m not a huge fan of mozzarella sticks, but these? These I can’t get enough of.

Since most days it just isn’t practical to drive 3 hours each way just for dinner, I’ve been experimenting with making my own mozzarella sticks to try and satisfy my craving. After a few batches, I have finally made something that works for us, even if it isn’t exactly like my beloved Moosejaw’s.

Mozzarella Sticks

Package of Egg roll wrappers (20 in the package I used)
1 egg, slightly beaten with a tablespoon of water, until frothy
16 oz packaged Mozzarella (mine is shaped like a log, cut the log in half across the short width, and then each half cut into ten strips along the long direction.)

2 eggs
1.25 c Bread crumbs
1 Tbsp Dried oregano
1 Tbsp Dried basil
½ c grated parmesan

To wrap the mozzarella:

Place an eggroll wrapper on the countertop with a point facing you. Place the mozzarella horizontally on the lower third of the wrapper.

Roll the corner closest to you over the filling. Moisten the top point with a little bit of the egg wash.

Fold the sides over the filling.

Roll the eggroll shut, and press to seal. Repeat with remaining wrapper and cheese.

I let these sit in my fridge for a little bit on a cooling rack in a sheet pan to let the egg really seal the seams well. Do not stack the mozzarella sticks – they will stick together!

For the breading:

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Pu the two eggs in a medium bowl and mix until mostly broken up and there are no clumps of egg white visible.

Using one hand. dip your wrapped mozzarella sticks in the egg wash, shake to remove the excess egg.

Drop into the breadcrumb mixture and, using your ‘non-eggy’ hand, coat the eggroll wrapper thoroughly with the breadcrumbs. Place back on the cooling rack until all the mozzarella sticks are breaded.

Meanwhile, I get my mini deep fryer heating to 375 degrees (you could also do this in a deep, wide pan with oil).

Once the oil gets up to temperature, fry the mozzarella sticks, 3-4 at a time, until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel to drain slightly.

Serve with marinara sauce, if desired.


oneordinaryday said...

This is a great idea. I just made a version of these but the cheese melted and oozed everywhere. The wrappers would keep it where it belongs and fix my whole problem. Thanks for sharing this!

The Cooking Photographer said...

You used egg roll wrappers? How cool!!! What a cool crunchy idea.

I love cheese. Can I say that here? I loooooove cheese.


Lynne @ CookandBeMerry said...

Ooh, I love mozzarella sticks dipped in marinara. That oozy cheese is sooo fantastic. And the egg roll wrapper...what a clever idea. I have to try these. Thanks.

Caroline said...

OneOrdinaryDay, the cheese 'blowout' was always a problem for me, too, and the wrapper keeps everything so neatly wrapped. I actually prefer it without all the breading, so essentially a mozzarella eggroll, but since the hubby prefers it this way, I make these more often!

Laura, I adore cheese too. You are more than welcome to make that affirmation here - you're in good company!

Lynne, I enjoy having marinara sauce with my mozzarells sticks, but I'm sure homemade would be so much better than jarred. One of these days I'll make these with homemade sauce, YUM!

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