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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Deep Fried Mac & Cheese

Yep, I went there.  By deep frying macaroni and cheese, I went to the other side of sensibility.  Actually, it made sense in a crazy kind of way.  Other people have done it.  Paula Dean, of course, has fried mac & cheese. She fries everything.  James Beard Award winner,  Alton Brown,  has his own take on it. 
Why not, then?
Leftover macaroni and cheese is usually very hard to reconstitute.  Much like Italian risotto, the next day  it is  clumpy, rock hard, and just not meltable.

Michael made his fabulous barbecued ribs the other night.  He paired them buttered corn on the cob and macaroni and cheese.  We ate all of the ribs and corn, but an entire casserole of mac & cheese  was impossible for two people to finish.  It always happens with mac & cheese. Make a big batch, love eating it, and into the refrigerator it goes to sit. And sit. It never even falls prey to my sleep eating episodes. It just sits there.
Well, last night I was determined to conquer the elusive unsolved leftover mac & cheese delimma.  The hard part was done.  I decided to use the same Italian method for Arancini di Riso,  fried risotto balls,  for our leftover mac & cheese.  I rolled the chilled sticky pasta into small balls, made holes in the center of each ball, filled the holes with extra cheddar cheese, closed the pasta balls around the cheese, and rolled them tightly to secure the cheese inside the orbs.

I set up a dredging station next to the deep fryer with three bowls containing flour, egg, and parslied panko bread crumbs.  With the fryer set at a fairly high temperature of 375, I dredged the mac & cheese balls in flour, egg,  bread crumbs, and set them aside to firm up before dropping them into the fryer to cook until golden brown and crunchy.
That was it. With plain ketchup as a dipper, they were ideal finger food served along side blazing hot chicken wings, sliced tomatoes,  and celery.

Ok , they were a wee bit skanky, but they were good!  The extra cheese oozed out onto the plate into  puddles.  Perfect cheesy puddles for swiping  the wings through before dipping into blue cheese dressing.  Messy and fun.

With a slight nod to civility, I  did shower them with fresh minced parsley.

 It was the first time macaroni & cheese didn't linger in the refrigerator in wait of a desperate pity snack.

That worked for me.

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