Deep Fried Feta Cheese Recipe
This weekend is the Super Bowl, but Lulu and his friends are so disappointed that the Niners didn't quite make it (and with Kyle Williams in particular) that they're threatening not to watch the game. Even though the boys are being such party poopers, I still plan on putting out a nice spread. As they say, the game must go on!
This particular dish is my take on the traditional fare of breaded mozzarella cheese sticks. Instead of mozzarella though, I made my fried treats with raw feta cheese. The cheese is from Redwood Hill Farms, and it is just delicious! It has such a strong flavor and really holds up well to being deep-fried. Unlike mozzarella, feta cheese doesn't melt but keeps a very pleasant firm texture.
To finish the plate, I drizzled a basil dressing on the appetizers for a contrast of color. For the party, I'll probably serve the fried feta cheese on a large tray, but you could also place a smaller portion as I did on a bed of diced vegetables.
Yields: 6 fritters1/3 pound raw goat milk feta cheese
10 tablespoons rice flour
½ cup beer, chilled, as needed
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-½ tablespoons Herbes de Provence
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups peanut oil (or regular vegetable oil), for deep frying, as needed
1 cup basil dressing (recipe follows in the tip section)
For the cheese fritter batter:
In a larger bowl, combine ½ cup flour, cayenne powder, turmeric powder and salt. Add 2 tablespoons crushed iced and the chilled beer and whisk until incorporated. Do NOT over-mix; it's okay if the batter is still lumpy. It should have the consistency of pancake batter. Allow to rest for about an hour.
In a small bowl, combine the rest of the flour, garlic powder and Herbes de Provence. Stir well and set aside.
Cut the square of feta cheese in half, diagonally. Then cut each triangle into thirds, horizontally. Coat the pieces of cheese with the flavored flour on both sides.
Layer a cooling rack, previously lined with paper towels if you like, on top of a baking sheet (for easy clean-up of the drained oil).
In a small pan (or any regular deep-fryer), heat the oil for about 2 minutes over high heat. There should be at least a 2-inch-high level of oil. Wait until the oil is slightly bubbly (not too hot).
Test the oil by dropping a teaspoon of batter into the hot oil. It should float but not swell.
Using a fork, dip a triangle of feta cheese into the batter to coat completely. Allow the excess batter to drip back into the bowl (use a second fork) and place in the hot oil. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the fritters.
Fry in batches. Make sure the cheese fritters don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes per batch. Use a splatter screen to prevent the oil from jumping everywhere . Flip each piece using a spider skimmer and cook for about a minute more until golden on both sides.
Delicately lift each fritter, draining as much oil as possible and transfer them to the cooling rack. Continue with the rest of the cheese triangles.
Serve with basil dressing on the side or drizzle the sauce directly over the cheese appetizers.
I used Redwood Hill Farm raw goat milk feta cheese. You could use any other cheeses, preferably raw cheese so the flavor is more intense.
Herbes de Provence is a combination of herbs originating from the Mediterranean region. I used a store-bought blend. You can also make your own; check the ingredients.
You can buy rice flour at the store but I prefer grinding my own, so I know all the nutrients are preserved. I use the Nutrimill brand mill. If you cook a lot, this machine might be very useful to make any kind of flour. If you don't have one, you could also use all-purpose flour instead.
For optimum results when heating the frying oil, the thermometer should register 345°F to 360°F. Heat the oil over medium to high heat (for a nice golden color).
How to make basil dressing: In a mini-blender (or a regular blender if you don't have a mini), combine 1 roasted Serrano pepper (seeds and stem removed), ¼ cup chopped blanched sweet basil leaves, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, the juice of a lemon, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. Add 4 tablespoons of water for a smoother flow (or more). Pulse until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper. Voilà!Published By: on February 3, 2012.