February 24, 2007

Deep Fried Dinner

After much research, it would appear there are exactly three well-known uses for cheese curds: cheese, deep fried cheese curds, and poutine.

While some day I may try to make cheese, this week did not contain that day. And, well, I've never been to Canada despite multiple trips that have failed to materialize for one reason or another, so I figure I should save poutine for the real thing, which WILL happen one day.

According to the Internets, the best deep fried cheese curds are at the Minnesota State Fair, although there was an impressive collection of posts in favor of the Wisconsin State Fair's offerings as well. I read all the recipes I could find and determined that I like the addition of corn meal to batter and that I would go with a beer-based batter instead of a milk or buttermilk-based batter.

In keeping with our Deep Fried History, E, G, and I settled into the kitchen for the dinner of fried.

Oddly, I found the act of deep frying viscerally satisfying. Must be the danger. So, if you are looking for a greasy but delicious and fun dinner, see below.

Fair warning: even if you serve these with a hefty salad, they are addictive and heavy and may have a side effect of making you think you can consume more wine than you should.

Deep Fried Cheese Curds

2 lbs cheese curds
1 cup flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1-2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 can of beer

1. Mix all the ingredients except the cheese curds together until the batter is a thick liquid consistency.

2. Dip each cheese curd in the batter, place on a cookie sheet. When the cookie sheet is full, freeze. (Note, silpat was a lifesaver here because the cookie sheets were too unwieldy to get into the freezer but the sheets are maneuverable and bend. Plus the frozen cheese curds just popped off with no mess before frying. Give the freezing at least 30 minutes, an hour is probably better.)

3. Heat a wok or other large open pot full of vegetable oil (I used saffola) to 375F. (Thanks to my aunt for the candy thermometer!)

4. Drop about 5-8 curds in at a time and let sizzle 'til golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel covered plate.

5. Return the oil to 375F and repeat frying until done.

6. Feel free to experiment with the left over batter, I coated an anaheim pepper and dropped it in the oil without freezing and it came out wonderfully as well.

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