Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rosemary-Garlic Mozzarella Balls with Roasted Cherry Tomato Dipping Sauce *Recipe 21 Page 143*

As a child and teenager my mom forbid me from ever cooking with grease or frying food. For years I listened as she emphasized how dangerous hot oil was. When I got my own place and started cooking I never messed with oil. One day, my husband wanted me to "fry" the french fries. I looked at him like he was crazy! I told him "I've never fried anything before. It's too dangerous!" Well, you can guess the reaction I got from him. Needless to say, I fried those french fries and later on I called my mom to tell her what I did. I was 29 years old and I had just fried my first food!! My mom and I laughed and laughed. She never realized how serious I took all that lecturing. Well, now this story gets better.....

My mom came over on Sunday and I was going to make these FRIED mozzarella balls. She said nothing about me frying with oil and I proceeded to get started. I tried the first batch and the cheese melted in the oil. According to Tyler this means that your oil isn't hot enough. I turned the heat up on the oil and discovered my thermometer was broken. This is where everything went wrong! I didn't have another thermometer and the oil started popping and just became too hot. Well, you can imagine what this did to my mom. My two children were banned from coming anywhere near the kitchen. (hmmm...sounds familiar). My mom kept saying "I don't know about this frying with oil thing.....it makes me nervous". I was in my own little world (this happens when I cook) and I kept trying to fry those mozzarella balls. I got a few good ones, but overall had issues without my thermometer. I'll have to go run and buy a couple to keep on hand in case one breaks again.

These mozzarella balls were absolutely delicious despite all the issues that I had. The tomato dipping sauce was awesome and this is a "make again and again recipe". I am going to try this one again. This recipe is like 10 stars.

Tomato Dipping Sauce: 2 cups cherry tomatoes, 1/2 medium onion -cut into wedges, 1 garlic clove-peeled, extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Preheat oven to 425F. Set tomatoes, onion, and garlic on roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until tomatoes are slightly caramelized. Remove from oven and transfer to a blender, puree; using a towel to cover the lid. Transfer tomato mixture to a pot and simmer over low heat until thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

Mozzarella Balls:
3 cups cubed focaccia bread- I used the focaccia I made a week ago. (I had frozen leftovers)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely shaved
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 pound buffalo mozzerlla, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 eggs, beaten
vegetable oil, for frying.

Using a blender or food processor, make bread crumbs out of the focaccia. Stir in rosemary and shaved garlic, season with salt and pepper. Place flour on a shallow plate, season with salt and pepper. Dip mozzarella in flour, shaking off excess. Dip into egg, then coat completely in focaccia bread crumbs. Place on a tray, set aside in the refrigerator. Pour 4 inches oil into a large heavy pot and heat oil to 375F. Fry a few mozzarella balls at a time for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and cheese is just beginning to melt. (Keep oil hot or cheese will melt too much and the balls will fall apart.) Drain on paper towels. Season with salt. Serve with Tomato Dipping Sauce.

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