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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Manchego Frito: Not your ordianry Fried Cheesestick.

It goes without saying, I LOVE CHEESE. I love warm melted cheese. Sadly, when you hear "Fried Cheese" what comes to mind are those puny little pre-made frozen "Mozzarella" (an insult to a fine cheese) sticks. The good news is, a properly made fried wedge of GREAT cheese is easy to make, and SO worth it!

Manchego, Spain's most famous cheese is produced under strict guidelines with the raw milk of Manchega Sheep. It is usually aged anywhere from 3 to 12 months (though it's standards dictate that 2 months is the minimum). It has a rich golden color and can have many small "eyes" or holes. The robustness of the flavor develops as it ages. Because it's texture is semi-firm, it melts well without becoming overly gooey, which can lead to your fried cheese falling completely apart. Serving the dish with slices of Membrillo, or quince paste adds a wonderful contrast of sweet with rich and salty. You can find Membrillo in any good cheese shop, or often even in a grocery with a nice cheese selection. This dish will pair nicely with anything from a spanish Rioja or Albarino, to a sparkling Cava.

Manchego Frito
1 C Panko Breadcrumbs
½ C Flour
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Milk
½ tsp Pimenton Dulce
Vegetable Oil for frying
Crusty Bread
Mixed Spanish Olives
Membrillo, sliced

In a wide shallow  bowl, whisk together the egg , milk, and Pimenton. Slice the Manchego into wedges. Dredge through flour, followed by the egg mixture and finally coat with the panko.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Fry the cheese wedges until golden brown on each side. Transfer to a paper lined plate. Serve with bread, membrillo and olives.

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