I love fried cheese sticks. I don’t love weird preservatives and high prices. I love to make my own yummy things. I don’t love dumping something from the freezer into the microwave. So, it’s pretty obvious that I make my own cheese sticks. I started with this recipe from Allrecipes, and it’s pretty much the same. But I have pictures! 😉
These are a great, easy introduction to frying, and nearly impossible to mess up.
You will need:
– string cheese (look for coupons for these, I scored a great deal on mine!)
– herbs and seasonings
– an egg and some water
– flour and cornstarch
– lots of oil
– three bowls, two forks, a pair of tongs, and a heavy frying pan
First, mix up your crumbs with the seasonings. I used dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, and some garlic powder. (I used saltine crackers, but any kind of crumbs you have on hand would be acceptable.)
Then, beat your egg a bit with some water.
You’ll need about 2 parts flour to one part cornstarch (say, 2/3 cup and 1/3 cup) as well.
Line all these bowls up, assembly-line style. This is a pretty standard setup for frying – a series of bowls full of coating materials, ending at the hot oil.
Speaking of the hot oil, get it hot, preferably in a cast iron pan (it helps keep the temperature steady). You can use a frying thermometer for this, but usually the pan is too shallow. You’ll need the oil to be about the depth of the cheese, more or less.
I usually take a tiny drop of water on my hand and fling it (from a distance) into the oil. If it immediately sizzles and pops, you’re ready. (NO, that’s not safe, but I’m being real here.)
When the oil is hot enough, take a cheese stick and roll it in the flour mixture.
Then, dip it in the egg mixture. Let it sit there for just a moment, so that the flour soaks up some of the egg. Make sure the whole cheese stick is coated thoroughly.
Now, fish out the eggy cheese and roll it in the crumbs. Roll it and pat it (and mark it with a B if you wish) and make sure the whole cheese is covered.
Drop your cheese into the oil (use the tongs to protect your hands). It’ll only take a few seconds to cook. Since it’s just cheese, you don’t need to worry about “internal temperature” like you will with meats – just judge the doneness by the color of the crumbs and the amount of leaking cheese you can see.
Don’t crowd the pan with too many cheeses, and don’t walk away – this is a quick and dangerous process.
If the cheese doesn’t immediately begin bubbling like crazy when you put it in, take it out again and let the oil get hotter. If it just sits in the oil and isn’t furiously bubbling, it’ll absorb the oil and get gross.
When they’re done to your satisfaction, pick them up with the tongs and place them on a few layers of paper towels. The paper towels will soak up some of the remaining oil, leaving them crispy instead of soggy.
Serve them hot, with marinara sauce.
Now that you’ve mastered this process, you are ready to move on to more complicated fried items (although none of them are especially hard except for chicken – there is a *secret* to chicken).
Do you have a favorite appetizer? Are you afraid of frying? Are there any cooking methods that you’ve been afraid to try?