“Got any more of those?”
That was the first Mother Cookie said after finishing the freshly fried Eggplant Parmesan Stick I gave to her to taste-test.
And for the rest of the night, as I finished frying the sticks, she incessantly inquired, “Got any more of those?”
That’s how good these babies are; once you try one, you can’t get it off your mind. I lost count of how many I ate throughout the night, which is probably for the better. They were just so heavenly, I couldn’t stay away. I can say without hesitation that these Eggplant Parmesan Sticks are one of the best recipes I have made to-date.
These are essentially darn good mozzarella sticks with eggplant inside. The concept makes perfect sense. Traditional Eggplant Parm is comprised of fried eggplant, marinara, sauce, and mozzarella cheese. So, classic mozzarella sticks are just missing the eggplant. Add that in, and you’ve got handheld eggplant parm. Mind blown.
What results is the most perfectly golden brown, crispy, crunchy breading encasing ooey, gooey fresh mozzarella cheese and tender eggplant that melts in your mouth after frying. Using fresh mozzarella makes a big difference here; it’s the gooiest stuff on the planet, creating the ideal stream of cheese that stretches from the stick when you take that first bite. Send the deep-fried dream for a dunk in some marinara sauce to bring the eggplant parm experience full-circle.
This is life-changing.
Forget what you know about mozzarella sticks; forget what you know about Eggplant Parm. This combines the best of both worlds, creating one of the most delicious finger foods you’ll ever enjoy. I can promise you that you will never eat a mozzarella stick this delicious from a restaurant, and I’ve tried a lot of mozzarella sticks in my day. The flavorful breading with just the right texture, the cooked-to-perfection eggplant, and that slightly sweet, amazing fresh mozzarella cheese are incomparable.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Some of these will leak cheese when frying, but don’t worry. There will still be plenty of cheese left in there.
- You must use fresh mozzarella to get the full experience. This is not the same as regular mozzarella. The fresh stuff can be bought in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store.
- Want the best Eggplant Parmigiana recipe ever? I’ve got it right here.
- Leave out the eggplant for the perfect classic mozzarella stick recipe.
- This is a great way to get kids to try eggplant. Just tell them they’re eating cheese sticks, and they won’t care.
Eggplant Parmesan Sticks
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 1 fresh eggplant, skins removed
- 20 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
- Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- Marinara sauce, for dipping
Special equipment: toothpicks
- Slice the eggplant and mozzarella cheese into about 1-inch wide, 3-inch long sticks, about ½-inch in thickness (you don’t need to be precise; whatever looks like standard cheese stick size to you). Try to keep the cheese and eggplant the same size so they’ll hold together better when frying. Skewer each slice of eggplant together with a slice of cheese using a toothpick (you will remove this after frying).
- Put the flour in one large bowl, the milk and egg in another large bowl, and the breadcrumbs in a third large bowl. Whisk together the milk and egg.
- Use the toothpick to help you dip each stick into the flour and coat entirely. Then dunk and coat in the milk/egg mixture, and finally dunk and coat in the breadcrumbs. Repeat once more so that each stick is double coated. I don’t recommend doing a single coat because the cheese will leak through when frying.
- Place a large deep skillet over medium-high heat and fill about 1 1/2-inches deep with oil. Let it get good and hot, about 5-10 minutes.
- While the oil heats, line a baking sheet with paper towels and preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
- Gently place one breaded stick into the oil to test if it’s ready. If it sizzles, you’re good to go. If not, wait a few minutes more. Put about 6 sticks in at once, but no more. If you crowd the pan, the oil’s temperature will drop. If you can, place the sticks cheese side-down first. This will prevent the cheese from leaking later.
- Let each stick fry until golden brown then flip and fry the other side until golden brown. Once flipped, you should be able to gently and carefully remove the toothpick to make for easier frying, or you can wait until after it’s completely fried. Be careful not to burn yourself, and watch the pan because each stick will fry at a different rate.
- When a stick is good and golden brown on both sides, use tongs or a fork to remove it from the oil and transfer to the prepared baking sheet so the paper towels can soak up the extra oil. If you haven’t already done so, remove the toothpicks. Place finished sticks in the oven to keep warm while you fry the rest of the sticks. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.