They really are the best! Made with two types of cheese, big pieces of ham and finished with a golden, crispy coating, no one can eat just one.
By Stefano Faita
Yield: 12 to 15 servings
3.5 oz. of smoked or unsmoked mozzarella
3.5 oz. Emmenthal
7 oz. thickly sliced ham (about 3/8 in. thick)
2 eggs, beaten
plain bread crumbs, for breading
sunflower oil, for frying
12 to 15 (6-in.) skewers
tomato dipping sauce
Note: If desired, omit ham to make these cheese sticks vegetarian. Mozzarella and Emmenthal both work well for cheese sticks because they have that stretch factor when they melt, but you could also use provolone or fontina.
- Cut ham into 1/2-in. squares, about 3/8 in. thick.
- Cut both the smoked mozzarella and Emmenthal into 1/2-in. cubes.
- Thread ham and cheese on skewers, alternating ham, cheese, ham, cheese. Repeat to make 12 to 15 skewers.
- To bread the cheese sticks: Dip first in beaten eggs, then dredge in bread crumbs. Repeat breading step so that each cheese stick is coated twice.
- Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. (You need enough oil to cover the cheese sticks). Test that oil is at the right temperature for frying by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil. If there are steady small bubbles, the oil is ready for frying.
- Fry cheese sticks in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until evenly until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve cheese sticks hot with tomato dipping sauce.
Tomato Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce or purée
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce or tomato purée. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and basil. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Stefano Faita credits his mother with teaching him everything he knows about cooking. As a young boy, he would sit on the counter and watch his mom, a well-known food personality in Québec, prepare traditional Italian family favourites. In his new CBC television series, In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita, Stefano shares some of those rustic recipes and encourages viewers to get "in the kitchen" to enjoy food with friends and family.
Catch In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita weekdays at 3:30 p.m. on CBC.