Are you a fan of Mozzarella Sticks? Silly question, right? I mean, the only people who aren’t fans are those strange people who don’t like cheese. I don’t mean lactose intolerant people – it’s not their fault. I mean those people who simply do not like cheese. My darling Hubby is one of these people. Thankfully, Kiddo is like me – a fan of just about any kind of cheese.
Recently for my birthday, we took a drive up into the Mother Lode Country of the California Foothills. Hubby had found a new Second Hand Store for us to explore, Mountain Treasures, that had recently re-opened. Although small, with only 40 or so vendor booths, it was packed with treasures galore. The best thing about small-town Second Hand Stores is that pricing is reasonable. And you never know what you might find.
For a while I was collecting Tea Cups, Espresso Sets and Hot Chocolate Sets. That was fun, and I still add to the Tea Cup Collection should I come across a cup that is amazingly beautiful or unusual. However; I’ve moved on to a new fascination- Mayonnaise Bowls. The very idea of a bowl that is just for Mayonnaise speaks to me. It’s part of my obsession with all things proper. Besides, they are a great conversational piece. A friend of mine actually uses hers as a gravy bowl. Which is another awesome idea. I bring this up because Kiddo bought me a beautiful Mayonnaise Bowl for my birthday that we found at Mountain Treasures. I love it.
Kiddo is also my cheese buddy. We like to order different appetizers that are cheesey. When we tried the Fried Goat Cheese Balls in a pub in Sutter Creek, I knew we needed to recreate this at home. Unlike some deep fried cheese ball appetizers, these were served with toasted sourdough bread. The bread really rounded out the presentation. We are lucky in that there is a goat cheese factory not far from where we live and they make the second most delicious goat cheese on the planet. There is another dairy that makes the best soft, rich goat cheese. Unfortunately, it’s a cottage kitchen industry. That means until the street fairs return, theirs is not a cheese we can lay our hands on. I just hope the small farm with the awesome cheese survives these difficult times.
Remember, your dishes are only as good as your ingredients. The better the quality, the better the food.
Deep Fried Goat Cheese Balls
3 oz soft Goat Cheese
½ cup Cornstarch
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1 Egg White
2 tablespoons Water
1 loaf Sourdough Bread
½ cup Butter, soft
Divide goat cheese into 6 equal pieces. Roll into balls. Transfer cheese balls to a plate lined with wax paper and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Mix thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Whisk egg white with bater in another small bowl. Place cornstarch in a third bowl. Set the bowls aside.
Slice Sourdough Bread into 1-inch thick rounds. Brush bread rounds with butter. Arrange on a baking sheet, set aside. Heat oven to broil.
Heat skillet on medium for 3 minutes. Add oil (about 1/2 inch deep) and heat for another 3 minutes.
While the oil heats, warm bread rounds under the broiler until golden and lightly toasted yet still soft. Remove from oven, keep warm.
Remove goat cheese from freezer and generously coat each ball in cornstarch, then egg batter, then breadcrumbs.
Carefully place goat cheese balls in heated oil, turning with metal tongs every 3-4 seconds until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess grease.
Arrange Arugula in the center a serving platter. Arrange toasted bread rounds around the Arugula. Place goat cheese balls over the Arugula bed. Serve with a butter spreader to spread the warm cheese on the bread.