Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Cheesy old fritters - a very admirable recipe

Cheese fritters seem something of an anathema to a land where the Breville toastie and cheddar on toast with a dash of Lea & Perrins rule supreme but on the continent (especially in Central Europe) you cannot move for a plethora of different preparations of fried cheese. 

I remember first sampling cheese fritters on a rather drunken trip to Prague alongside a crisp pint of Pilsner and the delicious/unsettling delights of a pickled sausage which a fat fingered old crone plucked from a large jar of brine and served with half a raw Spanish onion and black bread. 

However, as regards the below recipe, I took inspiration from my recent holiday to Alsace (France) where I was served the most wonderfully pungent Munster croquettes at the fabulous Hotel Schwendi, served alongside a simple green salad and some finely chopped beetroot. It was fabulous, but I fear that this recipe lacks the refinement that they brought to their preparation.

Sadly you cannot get Munster of that quality over here so I have used the ever reliable Gouda for my take, however that is not to say you cannot experiment with other cheeses. Dare I say it but Port Salut makes a very tasty croquette when used! I think melted cheese oozing from a crisp golden coating a rather sensual dish  - the perfect starter for a romantic meal for two! 

As at the fantastic Hotel Schwendi, the best thing to serve with these little parcels of pleasure with a chilled glass of Alsatian wine such as a fragrant Gerwurztraminer or a crisp Pinot Gris. 

(Serves 2 as a starter/snack or 1 for a light lunch)

For the fritters

4 medium slices of Gouda (or similar cheese)  
2 handfuls dried breadcrumbs
2 tbsp flour for dredging  
Salt and Pepper
1 large egg, beaten  
250ml sunflower oil

For the beetroot

1 large, cooked beetroot
Dash of white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of caster sugar
Pinch of nutmeg

For the salad 

1 large handful of lambs lettuce  
1 tbsp French Vinaigrette 
  1. Prepare the cheese fritters by taking each slice, dusting in flour, dipping in beaten egg and rolling in breadcrumbs. 
  2. Chill for 30 minutes. Repeat the latter two stages once more. Set aside
  3. Mince the beetroot with two sharp knives and combine in a bowl with  the vinegar, nutmeg, caster sugar and salt 
  4. pour the oil into a wok and heat on a high flame until hot enough to fry (you should be able to do this intuitively without the need of a thermometer). 
  5. Place the fritters carefully in the oil using a slotted ladle and fry on each side for about 30 seconds, turning with two forks. 
  6. Drain on some kitchen paper. dress the lambs lettuce and place in the centre of a white plate, surrounding with a few carefully place mounds of the beetroot, top with the hot fritters and season with salt and pepper. 

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