Molly Yeh's Mozzarella Stick Salad
- 3/4 cup (186 grams) marinara sauce
- 6 tbsp (75 grams) extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tbsp (90 grams) plain whole milk Greek yogurt
- The juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 splashes of water
- 1/2 cup (30 grams) panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) plain breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup (40 grams) grated parmesan
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- Black pepper
- 1 oz block mozzarella, cut into 16 squares (cut down the center lengthwise and then cut each long piece into 8 small rectangles)
- Neutral or good quality extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 5 oz spinach
- 3 oz baby arugula
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (170 grams) kalamata olives, halved
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups (255 grams) cherry tomatoes, halved
- A handful of grated parmesan
- A handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil or both
To make the dressing, whisk together marinara, olive oil, yogurt, and lemon and season to taste with crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Set up a standard breading station with 3 wide shallow bowls (or pie plates). Combine the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in one plate. Whisk the eggs with the 2 splashes of water in the second plate. Mix the panko, plain breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a generous amount of black pepper into the third plate.
Take each mozzarella piece through the breading procedure: coat in the flour, then the egg, and then the panko mixture, then repeat in the egg and panko mixture again for a double breading. This step can be done up to a day in advance; keep covered in the fridge until ready to use.
Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium high heat. Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the skillet. When a breadcrumb dropped into the oil sizzles, add the little mozzarella sticks, an inch apart, and fry until golden brown on all sides, a few minutes on each side. Fry in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, adding more oil if the pan seems dry. You could also deep fry the suckers! (But shallow frying is way more convenient and does a swell job.)
While the cheese fries, assemble the salad: on a large platter, spread out the spinach and arugula. Scatter on the red onion, olives, chickpeas, and tomatoes and drizzle on half of the dressing. When the mozzarella is done frying, transfer briefly to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil and then add to the salad. Top with the parmesan, and parsley and/or basil, and serve with remaining dressing.
Recipe from Molly Yeh's new book: “Home is Where The Eggs Are"