This ooey gooey spinach and artichoke mozzarella bites, served with marinara sauce, are a perfect way to welcome spring. Great as an appetizer to bring to a party or enjoy with a couple friends! Be warned…they're addictive 😉
1 cup baby spinach
6oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus some for sprinkling
1 - 1 1/2 cups canola oil, or other neutral frying oil
marinara sauce, to serve
Step 1In a food processor, combine all filling ingredients. Process on low until combined, about 30 seconds.
Step 2Line a 9x5 loaf pan with wax paper or parchment paper. Pour filling into pan and spread evenly. Freeze for 1 hour to stiffen the mixture but NOT freeze it through.
Step 3In the meantime, on a small plate mix breadcrumbs and oregano. On another small plate, mix flour, cayenne, and 1/4 tsp salt. In a small bowl, mix 4 eggs with a fork. Set all aside.
Step 4Remove cheese mixture from freezer and remove from loaf pan. Cut into 36 pieces (9 pieces by 3 pieces).
Step 5With each piece, coat in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, then egg, then breadcrumbs. This gives a double layer of coating on the bites which prevents the cheese from leaking and gives them more structure as they fry.
Step 6In a medium sized sauté pan, add canola oil. You will want enough to come halfway up each bite as they fry. Heat oil up to 350-360 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, you can stick a wooden spoon inside the oil. If it starts to steadily bubble around the spoon then you are ready to go! If it bubbles vigorously then you should lower it.
Step 7Place bites in pan evenly spaced and fry 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown (4-6 minutes total). Remove and place on paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil. While still hot, sprinkle with just a little more salt.
Step 8Serve immediately with marinara sauce on the side. Enjoy!