It was only when I first started using Pinterest that it occurred to me that fried mozzarella sticks are merely just string cheese, breaded and deep-fried.
Every other food pin, it seems, is some new take on this super easy, simple recipe.
Seems obvious, right? String cheese is mozzerella, after all.
But it's not the same kind of mozzerella, I realized after tackling one particularly easy looking fried cheese recipe that called for panko crumbs as the breading.
The mozzarella restaurants and prepared food makers use for fried cheese is significantly more salty, providing a nice, flavorful taste even if you don't dip them in marinara sauce.
String cheese has more of a bland taste, which is OK if you're just eating the stuff straight. But coat it in bread crumbs and deep-fry it, and pretty much all you taste is the canola oil it was fried in.
If I made this recipe again — and I'm not saying I won't — I would just cut up regular mozzarella cheese into sticks, or use a more salty string cheese.
A recent perusal of the web found a string cheese taste-test done by the Serious Eats blog. Their testers noted the Sorrento Stringsters brand was the most salty they tasted.
Otherwise, you might want to add salt to your panko crumbs.
You can deep fry or bake these bad boys. I deep-fried them because No. 1, I just got a ceramic-coated cast iron Dutch oven and wanted to take it for a spin, and No. 2, I wanted to judge the recipe based on how I would normally eat mozzarella sticks.
The recipe is simple ... most of the time was spent waiting for the string cheese to freeze. This helps prevent it from melting too much and falling apart before the crust has a chance to get nice a brown.