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Mozzarella Schnitzel Will Save Us All

Food52 logo Food52 9/21/2021 Emma Laperruque
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A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Psst, did you hear we’re coming out with a cookbook? We’re coming out with a cookbook!

Years back, I used to spend most of my free time in an ice skating rink, which meant a lot of spandex, Pac-Man, scrunchies, hand warmers, and, best of all, mozzarella sticks. I was never that good at skating—and honestly never that good at Pac-Man—but I was especially good at eating snack-bar snacks, greasy from the fryer, hot enough to burn my tongue.

Years later, I learned that you can make mozzarella sticks at home. In fact, we have not one, but two (!) encouraging guides on this topic. Sarah Jampel insisted that homemade mozz sticks “will be better than any you can find in the freezer aisle of your local grocery store (or at the pool or bowling alley or roller rink ‘Snack Shack’).” Erin Alexander assured, “It's really not as hard as it sounds (don't let the hot oil scare you off!).”

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And they’re right! DIY is better than what I stuffed my face with at the skating rink. It is more flavorful. It is more customizable. And it is more achievable than you’d expect. But—there’s always a but—it’s also enough of an investment that if you, like me, get an uncontrollable mozz stick craving (UMSC) at 12:43 p.m., exactly 17 minutes before your next Zoom meeting, you’re out of luck.

Which is why this Big Little Recipe isn’t a mozz stick, not technically. Instead of the signature stick shape, we are making something that is less curvy and more flat, something that is less of a project and more of a whim. We are making schnitzel.

German for “cutlet,” schnitzel refers to a super-duper thin slice of meat, breaded with eggs and crumbs, and fried until crispy as all get-out. Veal, as in wiener schnitzel, is traditional in Austria, but you can also schnitzel all sorts of meats, like pork or chicken.

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Or you could schnitzel all sorts of not meats. Think: carrot, mushroom, cabbage, and, today, cheese. Cheese!

Low-moisture, pre-sliced mozzarella is nothing if not convenient. It is already square and thin, so no need for cutting or pounding. Just stack up a few pieces, press them together with your hands, and look, you have a cutlet.

All that’s left is to dip it in beaten egg, tumble it in crackly panko, and pan-fry it in a skillet. No seasoning besides salt and pepper. No deep frying (and then cleaning up after deep frying). No driving to the skating rink. Just badabing, badaboom.

It’s extra-crunchy, oh-so gooey, and ripe for a cheese pull if that’s your thing. Serve on the immediate with a lemony salad and, if the day slash time slash mood allows, a very cold beer.

a piece of cake on a paper plate © Provided by Food52

Mozzarella Schnitzel

By Emma Laperruque

  • 2 to 4 slices low-moisture mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed

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