Fried Mozzarella Sticks with Creamy Marinara

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 12 sticks
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Ingredients

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 cup jarred marinara sauce 

1/3 cup creme fraiche 

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

1 teaspoon onion powder 

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

3 large eggs 

1-pound block mozzarella, cut into twelve 3-by-1/2-by-3/4-inch-tall sticks 

Directions

  1. Pour enough oil into a large Dutch oven or pot to come about 1 1/2 inches up the sides and fit the pot with a deep-fry thermometer. Bring the oil to 375 degrees F over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the marinara, creme fraiche and red pepper flakes in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute until warm. Cover and set aside until ready to use. 
  3. Place a wire rack inside of a baking sheet. Set up a standard breading station with 3 wide, deep plates (or pie plates). Place the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in one plate. Mix the panko, plain breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of black pepper into the second plate. Whisk the eggs into the third plate. 
  4. Take each mozzarella stick through the breading procedure: first in the flour, then the egg and then the panko mixture, then repeat in the egg and panko mixture again for a double breading. Transfer to the wire rack. 
  5. Working in batches, carefully drop 4 to 5 sticks into the oil and fry without touching until they are a deep golden brown and you can see some cheese starting to melt, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Serve immediately with the sauce on the side.