Cheese, please.

The humble mozzarella stick has been long maligned as pub-grub drivel, but Vancouver-based nutritionist and food blogger Jennifer Pallian (aka, The Foodess) has pulled off a Pygmalion-level transformation here with her recipe for herbed goat cheese fritters. It’s a simple, sophisticated take on all that crunchy, gooey goodness: a little crispy panko, a mild local goat cheese, a handful of whatever herbs you’ve got kicking around the garden, and you’ve got yourself an elevated (baked!) alternative that’s primed to please a crowd.

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Ingredients
2 logs goat cheese (113 g each)
¾ tsp minced fresh rosemary
¾ tsp minced fresh thyme
4 tbsp all-purpose flour 
¼ tsp coarse salt
1 egg 
1 tsp water
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp melted butter

Method
Combine goat cheese and herbs in a small bowl. Roll a scant two tbsp of the cheese mixture between your palms to form a ball, then flatten into a disc shape of ½-inch thickness. Place on a parchment-lined plate and repeat with remaining goat cheese. (You’ll get about 9 discs total.) Freeze for 10 minutes.

Arrange three shallow dishes side by side. In the first, place 4 tbsp flour mixed with ¼ tsp coarse salt. In the second, beat 1 egg with 1 tsp water. In the third, place 1 cup panko breadcrumbs stirred with 2 tbsp melted butter.

Coat each disc first in flour mixture, then egg mixture, and finally the breadcrumbs (press in to adhere). Transfer each fritter back to the parchment-lined plate as you go and freeze again for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment and preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer frozen fritters to sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Serve hot, with dipping sauce of your choice.