The Fruity Marinara Alternative To Seriously Elevate Mozzarella Sticks

Breaded and fried to crispy golden perfection, mozzarella sticks are the ultimate comfort food, often served as an appetizer at many American sports bars and Italian joints, and they even appear on certain fast food menus. In fact, MyRecipes decided to taste, review, and rank all the fast food joints serving up mozzarella sticks, and concluded that Sonic has the best, with Arby's as the runner-up. Furthermore, as seriously as America takes its appetizers, Taste Atlas ranked the 10 most popular appetizers in the U.S., to no surprise that these cheesy delights made it on the list. They ranked number four, proving how loved they are nationwide.

While this classic is a common favorite, it's not America's to claim. And shockingly enough, it's not Italy's either — it was first invented in France. According to Thrillist, the choice of using mozzarella as the type of cheese gives an indication that the dish is Italian, and its tangy tomato sidekick of marinara sauce was derived from pizza. Once the combination of fresh mozzarella with tomato sauce was discovered, the dipping sauce for fried cheese was a no-brainer. However, there's a new sheriff in town, and it's on the sweeter side.

Melba sauce

According to The Takeout, the capital of New York has a different outlook on fried cheese. Instead of pairing it with traditional marinara sauce, they like to serve it with melba, which is essentially a raspberry sauce. Bringing back the beloved fruit-and-cheese combo, the sweet condiment balances the savory cheese and crispy breading in a surprising and oh-so-delightful way. Thick just like marinara comes, but with a dunkable consistency, melba is the ultimate sidekick to mozzarella sticks. However, outside of Albany, it's a rare combination to find and is often unheard of.

While it makes a tasty sidekick to mozzarella sticks, Food Network states that melba sauce also can be a sweet topping to pound cake, ice cream, and your fruit of choice, snuck into milkshakes and smoothies, or even dolloped and spooned into artistic patterns onto a dessert plate for a picture-perfect presentation. In fact, while melba is typically made using fresh raspberries, a jar of raspberry jam makes quick work of the task. Simply empty the jar into a saucepan with red currant jelly and lemon juice, let that simmer until the flavors have intertwined, and pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve in order to get a silky smooth consistency.