The Great Cheese Stick Experiment: Day One

I love fried cheese. Sure, it’s not an everyday food, and even as a special treat it’s probably not the healthiest choice, but I love them anyway. Since cheese sticks are a sometimes food, I don’t want to waste my indulgence on crappy fast-food versions that taste like they’ve been steeping in month-old grease. 

So I’m on a quest to make my own, from scratch. What follows is the totally true story of the first experiment, which sadly ended up in the garbage.

Mozzarella Stick Batch 1 (MSB1) began, as many ill-advised adventures do, with an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Gel-tastic bro-chef Guy was visiting with a woman who made the most delicious looking mozz sticks I’ve ever seen. They looked simple enough, so I gave them a try.

The Stuff

Three eggs, beaten with a little oregano, parsley, salt and pepper

Stainless steel bowl with three raw eggs and seasonings.

One cup or so of bread crumbs, mixed with more oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper, as well as some shredded hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano and Asiago)

White plastic bowl filled with breadcrumbs, seasonings and grated cheese

One cup or so of flour

Pyrex dish filled with flour

Fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut into strips.

One pound of packaged fresh mozzarella cheese.

Mozzarella cheese, cut into strips on a white cutting board.

The Steps

Heat vegetable or peanut oil in a sturdy pan over medium heat until it reaches 350° F. Be careful. Oil is tricky.

Dip your cheese strips into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Repeat two more times, until each strip is covered in three layers of each item.

Using a slotted spoon, ease your cheese sticks into the hot oil, one or two at a time. Turn at least twice, so each side has a chance to get golden brown and crispy. When the cheese starts to bubble out of a crack, it’s done.

Remove from oil with the slotted spoon, and put on a cooling rack with a plate or paper towel underneath to catch the drips.

The Results

They looked gorgeous, see?

They tasted terrible. I’ve narrowed it down the the following reasons:

1. I think my breadcrumbs are really old, but I couldn’t find a date on the package. I don’t remember buying them any time recently.

2. I think the breading to cheese ratio was way off. The breading was super thick, and it’s all I could taste. A little bit of stale breadcrumb flavor is too much. An 1/4″ thickness of it is the stuff of nightmares.

3. I used too much oregano.

Lessons Learned

Fresh ingredients really are everything. Frying at home makes the whole house stink. Practice on lower quality cheese. There is such a thing as too much oregano.

I’m going to try again, stinky curtains and expensive cheeses be damned. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’m going to Denny’s for some cheese sticks that don’t suck.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

13 replies on “The Great Cheese Stick Experiment: Day One”

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives really does result in some of the most random possibly bad food-related decisions.

There’s a reason why the BF and I call it pure, undiluted food porn. Not for any particular dirty reason. Just the fact that you can’t look away from all the burgers.

I hope the next batch turns out better!

I used to eat cheese sticks for lunch every day when I worked in a mall across from the Italian restaurant. They’d usually give me an extra or two as a regular. I rarely get it now that I’ve moved & don’t know the restaurants but I’m digging the idea of making it at home!

I’m glad there’s another cheese stick connoisseur ’round these parts. People think it’s just greasy fried cheese, but in reality, it’s greasy fried cheese…with delicious crunchy breading. I’ve also nearly lost my life on two seperate occasions when I choked on a marvelous cheese stick, but that’s the risk us Cheese Stick Connoisseurs gotta make.

(CSC? How would that be pronounced? It almost sounds like the sound I make while choking to death on a cheese stick, ironically. “SSKKS!”)

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