Deep-Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato and Garlic Chutney
- 16 (1-inch diameter) balls bocconcini mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 3 cups seasoned Italian-style bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
For the bocconcini: Drain the bocconcini and pat dry with paper towels. Put on a paper towel-lined plate and allow to dry in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Put the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Put the eggs in a second medium bowl and the bread crumbs in a third medium bowl. Coat the bocconcini in flour and then dip into the eggs. Roll the bocconcini in the bread crumbs until coated. Dip the coated bocconcini, again, in the eggs and then coat with bread crumbs. Freeze the breaded bocconcini for 20 minutes.
For the chutney: In a blender, combine the garlic, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, sugar, olive oil, cumin and pepper. Blend until smooth. Pour into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick, about 45 to 55 minutes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently break up the tomatoes as they begin to soften during cooking. Season with salt, to taste. Let the chutney cool to room temperature, about 35 minutes. Place in a serving bowl.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don't have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 1 to 2 minutes.) In batches, fry the bocconcini until golden brown, about 15 to 20 seconds. Drain on paper towels.
Arrange the bocconcini on a platter and serve the chutney alongside as an accompaniment.