My high school, Oak Park River Forest, sold mozzarella sticks every day. Never warm, always soggy, slightly congealed, terribly greasy, bland red sauce and guess what? I loved every bite. My goal in life since was to create the world’s best-fried mozzarella experience, and I’ve done just that with these mozza balls.
The secret to these mozza balls is simple: fresh, medium-sized mozzarella balls paired with a crispy beer batter. They are basically Italian cheese curds. One dunk in the pepperoni MauroNara, and you’ll understand what I mean.
Moreover, these mozza balls make for the ultimate appetizer when you have guests over, especially on game day. Game day is all about convenience, and these mozza balls deliver. They’re perfectly portioned, making them easy to grab and enjoy without missing a moment of the action. There is no need for plates or utensils – pop one in your mouth and savour the flavour.
Pepperoni MauroNara Sauce
Make the beer batter: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add one cup of the beer while lightly whisking, adding more beer if necessary to yield a thick pancake batter consistency. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes. The batter may thicken as it sits, so add enough beer to get it back to a thick pancake batter consistency before use.
Make the Pepperoni MauroNara: Heat a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the giardiniera oil, pepperoni, Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt. Gently saute until the fat starts to render out. Add the giardiniera and continue to cook until the pepperoni softens about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Fry the mozzarella balls: Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Fit a sheet pan with a wire rack. Add the peanut oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 375 ºF over medium-high heat.
Put the rice flour in a baking dish. Dredge the mozzarella balls in the flour until fully coated (this makes the batter stick to the cheese). Drop the mozzarella balls into the beer batter. Gently remove the battered balls with a spider or two forks and carefully submerge them in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the mozz balls to the prepared sheet pan and sprinkle with salt. Hold in the oven while you fry the remaining mozz balls.
Serve the cheese balls with warm Pepperoni MauroNara.