Chef Justin Garrison’s Fried Mozzarella with Tomato Purée


Chef Justin Garrison from West End Wine Bar in Purcellville Virginia joined us at Epicurience Virginia 2016. Chef Justin was at ease on stage with his 15 years of culinary experience. His cooking style is a locally sourced culinary roadmap, putting a colorful twist on traditional techniques. Chef Justin demonstrated an incredible recipe for Homemade Fried Mozzarella (you will be surprised how easy it is!) and a ten minute Garlic Confit Tomato Puree and Mushrooms! Follow the recipe below and recreate this tasty dish at home!


2 large sauce pots

1 medium sauce pan

3 large mixing bowls

3 medium mixing bowls

1 whisk

1 thermometer

Slotted spoon

Vita mix blender

Plastic wrap



6 cups of water

1 cup kosher salt

1 qt cow cheese curds

Ice water for ice bath

1 qt panko bread crumbs

1 qt all purpose flour

3 eggs

1 qt cream

1 qt olive oil

Garlic Confit Tomato Puree and Mushrooms:

2 Heirloom tomatoes

1 whole garlic head (peeled and chopped)

1 whole garlic head (peeled)

1 medium sweet onion (chopped)

2 tbsp olive oil

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup marsala

4 oz mushrooms  (button or similar)

4 oz basil

4 oz flat leaf parsley

Black pepper

Kosher salt



  1. Add six cups of water to a large sauce pot and salt water with kosher salt – water should taste as salty as the ocean. Bring water to a boil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add cheese curds and CAREFULLY pour boiling water over the curds.
  3. Carefully stretch the cheese curds by pulling them out of the water with a slotted spoon (cheese will be stretchy and stringy) continue to stretch the cheese and work out all the lumps from the curds.
  4. Form into a smooth ball or log and wrap in plastic wrap and place it in an ice bath to cool for 20 minutes.

To Fry the Mozzarella:

  1. Add oil to a large sauce pot and bring to boil slowly until it reaches 325 degrees, turn heat to low.
  2. Prepare to bread the mozzarella for frying by whisking eggs and cream in a large mixing bowl, place bread crumbs and flour separately into 2 additional large mixing bowls.
  3. Remove cheese from ice bath and remove plastic wrap, cut into 1 inch thick slices.
  4. First coat mozzarella slices in flour, then dip in eggs/cream mixture, finish by coating in bread crumbs.
  5. Carefully drop coated cheese slices into hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  7. Once drained move the mozzarella to a plate and top with mushrooms, Garlic Confit Tomato Puree and basil leaf for garnish.

Garlic Confit Tomato Puree and Mushrooms:

  1. In a medium sauce pan add 2 tbsp of olive add 1 cup whole peeled garlic cloves and let simmer.
  2. Once garlic cloves show sign of color, add chopped garlic and chopped onion, simmer together until onions sweat and become semi translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes and deglaze the pan with marsala, simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Carefully add tomato mixture to a Vitamix blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Separately, mix mushrooms, parsley and vinegar and set aside.

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