Looking for an appetizer to serve at your next holiday party? These mozzarella sticks and tomato dipping sauce are sure to be a hit.

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 18

IngredientsMozzarella sticks

• 1/4 cup flour

• 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

• 1 egg

• 16 ounces mozzarella, cut into sticks about half an inch thick

• 2 tablespoons canola oil

Dipping sauce

• 1 teaspoon olive oil

• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

• 1 French shallot, finely chopped

• 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

• 1 tablespoon tomato paste

• 1/2 cup maple syrup

• 1 teaspoon parsley, fresh or dry

• 1 teaspoon basil, fresh or dry

• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Spread the flour on one plate and the breadcrumbs on another.

In a shallow bowl, beat the egg with a fork.

Completely coat each cheese stick in the flour, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs to create a crust. (This step can be repeated a second time for a crunchier result, but you’ll have to double the breading ingredients.)

Place the mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet and freeze them for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pot, heat the olive oil over low to medium heat. Add the French shallot and garlic and cook them until they start to turn golden.

Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and maple syrup to the pot and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the herbs and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Fry the mozzarella sticks in batches until they’re golden on both sides. Serve warm.

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