Sunday, May 12, 2013

Breaded Goat Cheese Bites

I am kind of obsessed with cheese. I can have a seriously appalling amount of cheese in one sitting. Sometimes, good old cheddar just won't do and I want something even more indulgent. Enter goat cheese. And sometimes just goat cheese isn't enough, so I bread it and fry it. Oh, yeah.

We are currently visiting family (part of the reason that I have been MIA lately) and we had some guests over for dinner the other night. I figured I'd make some fried goat cheese for people to snack on before dinner since they are a great little finger food or appetizer. I asked my mother to buy the ingredients while she was out buying other stuff that we needed for the dinner. The last time I made these, I bought a little log of cheese from the supermarket and it made maybe eight loonie-sized goat cheese bites, so I asked her to pick up four or five "small" logs since we were serving ourselves and guests. 

Well, she went to Costco, and Costco doesn't do small, so she came home with four massive logs (and I mean logs) of goat cheese. Juuuust a bit more than we needed! Hilarious. So I wrote this recipe for one (just one) of those logs, which will make plenty, but you can use the small cheese logs instead and cut down the rest of the ingredients accordingly.

These bad boys are rich and delicious. The cheese is warm and soft and rich while the outside is nice and crunchy, with delicious flavour from the herbs. The nice thing is that you can substitute any herb you want, though you may want to stay away from delicate herbs like basil which won't stand up well to frying. You could also try adding other ingredients like onion salt or garlic powder. 

If you want more crunch, use panko breadcrumbs instead of normal breadcrumbs, as I find panko is lighter and crispier. I double-breaded these bad boys for more crunch as well. Maybe not the kind of snack you'd eat every day, but definitely a delicious, indulgent treat every once in a while (though if you did eat this every day, I certainly wouldn't blame you).

  • 1-454 g log of chèvre (soft unripened goat cheese)
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 cup of dried Italian herb mix
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Make sure your goat cheese is quite firm before you start. That will help you cut it into pieces more easily, otherwise it gets crumbly and starts to fall apart. If the cheese is soft, toss it in the freezer for ten minutes or so before you work with it. Cut the log into even slices (I got 16 slices out of my log, each probably just under a centimetre or so thick). It is easiest if you cut the log in half, then cut the halves in half, and so forth. If you just work from one end to the other you may end up with an end piece that is too big or too small. 

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl and set aside. In another medium bowl, add the breadcrumbs, Italian herb mix, salt and pepper and mix until the ingredients are well combined. Dunk the cheese slices into the egg wash, then coat them in the breadcrumbs and set aside. I find it easiest to use one hand to dunk the cheese into the egg and toss it into the breadcrumbs, then use the other to toss the breadcrumbs over the cheese and move the cheese to a platter. Your hands stay way cleaner that way. 

When all of the slices have been battered, repeat the process again for a crunchier coating, if you want. You probably only need about a cup or so of breadcrumbs for a double coating, but make sure to have some extra on hand just in case (and an extra egg would probably be handy too).

Fry the goat cheese in vegetable oil. You probably only need an inch or so of oil in the pan. I fried them over medium-high heat, but adjust the heat if you need to. Just keep an eye on things and make sure the oil isn't too hot, otherwise the outside will char before the cheese gets nice and melty inside. Once they are golden brown on one side, flip them over and cook the other side. When both sides are golden brown, remove the bites to a plate lined with paper towels to let the excess oil drain away. Serve immediately.


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