1 (8 oz.) container mini mozzarella cheese balls
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups panko (or seasoned) breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
vegetable oil, as needed, for frying
1.Drain your mozzarella balls and bat them dry with paper towels.Note: any mozzarella you decide to save for later should be stored in the liquid it came in (or submerged in a bowl of water).
2.Set up an assembly line with three shallow bowls: flour in the first bowl, beaten eggs in the second, and breadcrumbs in the third.
3.Add garlic powder, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the panko breadcrumbs and mix together thoroughly.
4.Heat 3 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven to 375º F (make sure there’s at least 2-3 inches of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pot).
5.Take your dry mozzarella balls in dredge each one thoroughly in flour. Shake off excess and then submerge them in eggs.
6.Drip off excess egg and roll them each in seasoned panko mixture, pressing firmly so it adheres.
7.Transfer balls to a baking sheet and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes, or until chilled.
8.Carefully lower cheese balls into 375º F oil and fry for 1-1 1/2 minutes, flipping occasionally, or until golden brown and crispy.
9.Use a slotted spoon to remove cheese balls and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
10.Serve immediately with cheese dip (no such thing as too much cheese) or marinara sauce.