Little Fried Mozzarella BallsClick to Play

Little Fried Mozzarella Balls

Bocconcini Fritti

Mary Ann Esposito

Bocconcini (small mouthfuls) are bite-size balls of fresh mozzarella di bufala (buffalo milk cheese). Or they can be fresh mozzarella made from cow’s milk and referred to as fior di latte, the flower of the milk. In Campania, making fresh mozzarella is a true art and the finished product so delicate that something is lost in taste if not consumed (da giornata) the day it is made. These little gems of cheese ooze buttery goodness, are soft and creamy and have a slightly tangy taste. With a hunk of country bread, they make an unforgettable lunch. And good as they are on their own, sometimes I like to present them in new ways. They are wonderful marinated in olive oil with fresh thyme, basil and parsley and served with crusty bread for an antipasto or light lunch and they are absolutely addicting when coated in egg and bread crumbs, fried to a golden brown and served hot on a puddle of tomato sauce.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2-3 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 pounds bocconcini, drained
12 whole basil leaves
2 cups prepared tomato sauce, kept warm
Sunflower or Canola oil for frying

Directions

Beat the eggs with a fork in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Combine the salt and flour in another bowl and set aside. Pour the bread crumbs into a third bowl.

Dry off the bocconcini with paper towels and coat them in flour, then egg and finally bread crumbs. Place them on a baking sheet.

Heat 4 cups of oil to 375°Fin a deep fryer or heavy duty pot. Add the bocconcini a few at a time and fry until golden. Drain them on absorbent paper and keep warm until all the pieces are fried. Add the basil leaves to the oil and fry about 1 minute; drain on absorbent paper.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of tomato sauce in the middle of 6 individual salad dishes. Place three to four balls on top of the sauce; add acouple of fried basil leaves for garnish and serve.

Or place the bocconcini on a platter. Scoop the tomato sauce into a serving bowl and let everyone help themselves. We like to serve these with a red wine like Banfi’s Centine.

Chef’ secret: Marinated jars of bocconcini make a great hostess gift. Add some long strips of lemon peel and a tablespoon of black whole pepper corns to the jar.

item recipe is featured in Episode 2010 of Season 20.

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