Mozzarella Red Onion Sticks with Pomegranate Marinara Dipping Sauce Recipe


What the heck are mozzarella onion sticks? you may be asking yourself. Think of it this way: if an onion ring made of red onion and a mozzarella stick had a baby, this would be it. Golden and crispy on the outside, oozing with cheese. Why did I even try to merge the two if they are already good on their own? I'll blame it on buzzfeed and a recipe I thought would turn out easy but ended up being the biggest fail ever. The theory was good, take two rings of onion and stick a slice of mozzarella all the way around between them. Freeze, then bread, then fry. Easy, right? Nope. After a ton of fiddling I managed to pull it off but I would never ask any of you to try it. Trust me, it'll be a fiasco. But I don't take no for an answer and the idea stuck in my head. I wanted to incorporate the onion and mozzarella both without the hassle of the whole thing falling apart while breading. That's how these sticks came to be. For those original fail rings, I went with a buttermilk ranch dip which was particularly good. Don't worry I jotted down the recipe and it'll land it's way on my blog as some point or another. This time around, I was looking for something tomato based but sweet and tart. It was perfect, if you don't believe me try it yourself. Shavuos is right around the corner ya know.


Let's talk variations because I always like to offer options. Regular white or yellow onion is totally fine, I like the red because they're sweet when fried. Adding seasoning to the cornflake crumbs is a great idea too, I thought of zaatar or onion-garlic, even chili. As for dipping- regular good old jarred marinara is great, just heat it a bit before serving. Also, any jam will do so if you don't love pomegranate go for grape or strawberry. And if you want to keep it really light, baked not fried is always an option!


Mozzarella Red Onion Sticks with Pomegranate Marinara Dipping Sauce 


Ingredients:

1 Medium Red Onion, Cut into 1/2 inch- an inch thick rings
1 Package String Cheeses- 8 Individual sticks or more
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Cornflake Crumbs
Vegetable Oil for frying

Pomegranate Flavored Marinara Dipping Sauce:
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
1 28 Ounce Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 Teaspoon each Basil & Oregano (optional)
1/2 Teaspoon Each Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 Teaspoons Pomegranate Flavored Jam

Method:

1. Slice each string cheese in half down the center. Pull apart the rings of the red onion slices gently and slice each one at the center to open them up into a straight stick. Lay one or two sticks of onion down the center of each half of string cheese. Trim the ends of the onion so that they are the same size as the cheese. Press the ends of the onion into the cheese so that it sticks down and stays put as much as possible while breading.

2. Create a breading station: whisk the 2 eggs together and put them on one dish, in another dish place the flour and a third, the cornflake crumbs.

3. Roll the cheese and onion stick through the egg and then through the flour coating well. Then put it back through the egg and into the cornflake crumbs once again coating well. Use your fingers to hold the onion in place as you bread if it begins to get dislodged at all. 

4. Once done breading each piece, lay them out on a tray and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes to an hour.

5. In the meantime, start on the marinara sauce. Add olive oil to a saute' pan. Add in the yellow onion and garlic and saute' till softened a bit. Then add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper as well as the basil and oregano if your including it. Heat over medium heat on the stove top and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, mixing consistently until it all comes together. Last, add the pomegranate flavored jam and lower the heat a bit. Continue stirring and allow to simmer for a couple of more minutes or until it's incorporated. Put through a blender at this point if you like it less chunky. 

6. Fill a deep saute' pan with an inch or two of vegetable oil and heat over medium heat on the stove top until simmering. Remove the breaded mozzarella sticks from the freezer and drop about 3 at a time into the hot oil to deep fry. (You can also bake these on 450 for 15 minutes, flipping them half way through to keep it healthy if you prefer.) Fry for about 2 minutes then flip to other side and fry another 2 minutes or until nice and light golden. Then remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool a bit. 

7.  Serve with the pomegranate marinara sauce on the side or drizzle it over them if serving immediately. 

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