I bought some fresh mozzarella from Trader Joe’s and was thinking what I can cook with it. I really loved the way it was packaged. It was already pre-sliced and ready for sandwiches, or frying. After opening the package, I transferred the contents (including the water) into a tupperware. Then I did some recipe digging and came across the recipe from Emeril Lagasse for Fried Fresh Mozzarella. I really liked the ingredients in the recipe and wanted to see how it will turn out. I did make some slight adjustments to the original recipe.
I hardly have the time to prep for dinner after work, so usually I start prepping meals the night before to make it simple for me when I get home from work. In this case, I prepared the Ragu and prepped the cheese the night before. I left to boil the pasta and fry the cheese when I got home from work. It all worked out as planned.
I really enjoyed the mushrooms with the cheese. I thought they were a match made in heaven. The cheese was just perfect – it was warm and crispy on the outside and gooey in the inside. My only disappointment was that once the cheese cooled down, it became pretty hard and not as tasty. I guess like french fries… if not eaten right away, the taste is just not there. So if you want to experience the full taste of fried cheese, try to keep it warm when serving. I served the fried cheese with ragu over some wheat pasta, but you can serve it over meats, rice, potatoes, or just with a slice of bread. I have to say that serving it over wheat pasta did not feel like a heavy meal, and in fact I was energized and feeling good
afterwards… I even got to do some living room dancing with my kids.
- 8 oz pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 (1/4-inch) slices
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 diced onion
- 2 Cloves of minced garlic
- 8 oz portobella mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 8 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 6 oz shitake mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 2 Tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/4 Tsp kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
- 1/4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 16oz Wheat Pasta
- 1/4 cup pasta water
- salt to taste
Cook the pasta per packaging directions and reserve 1/2 cup water for ragu. When pasta is al dente, drain.
At this point, you can either combine the pasta with the ragu, or serve it on the side.
Season both sides of the cheese with salt and pepper. Season the flour, egg wash and bread crumbs separately with salt and pepper. Dredge each slice of cheese in the flour, tapping off any excess, then dip each slice in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Dip the cheese in the bread crumbs, coating completely. Set aside.
Place a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter to the pan. Once the butter melts and starts to foam, add the diced onions and saute until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they have released most of their liquid, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and stock to the pan. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil and reduce to a gentle boil. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper, and add the basil and parsley to the pan.
Note: If you are planning on serving it over pasta, it’s a good idea to use the reserved pasta water to make the ragu a little watery to blend well with the pasta.
In another large saute pan, over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Pan-fry the cheese until the crust is golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove and drain on paper towel, but don’t leave there too long – some of my cheese got stuck on the towel.
To serve, place pasta on plate, spoon the mushroom ragu and arrange 2 pieces of the fried cheese on top.