YES…you can make these at home…just as good, if not better than any frozen product, or ones you can find on a menu in a restaurant! So, super easy…just takes a bit of time management. You really need to freeze the sticks prior to coating and frying. Do NOT skip this step or you will end up with a gooey mess in the fryer. One to two hours in the freezer will do. Buy the string cheese version…do NOT buy a block of mozzarella and cut up. The string cheese will hold up much better during the frying process.
In my opinion, panko is the way to go for the breading. Often times, a seasoned bread crumb is a bit much. You will be seasoning the panko with a little kosher salt and pepper…oh…and I did add in some crushed red pepper flakes! Feel free to skip if you want…they were NOT spicy…just added a whole new level of flavor!
Unwrap the mozzarella sticks and freeze for at least an hour…two works better. When cheese is ready. Heat enough oil in a cast iron pan to fully cover the sticks. Temperature should be between 350 and 375 degrees. Create a breading station. One bowl (or paper towel) with the flour. A bowl with the eggs beaten and cream. A final bowl with the panko, seasoned with kosher salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper.
To coat the cheese sticks, dunk a stick in water. Place directly into the flour and coat. Shake off any excess flour. Place in the egg mixture. Fully coat. Place in the breadcrumb mixture. Coat. Dunk back into the egg mixture, then a final coating with the breadcrumbs. You may have to kind of pack the breadcrumbs on the final coat. Set aside and coat the remaining cheese sticks as the oil is heating to temperature. Place cheese sticks in oil, in batches. I fried four at a time. As soon as they are browned on both sides, remove and sprinkle with kosher salt. If you see any of them start to burst…take them out! Fry time is minimal! Finish frying the remaining sticks. Heat up the marinara sauce.
Place on serving dish. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately or at room temperature and ENJOY!