My friend Jen and her husband Jason were passing through from Oklahoma, on their way to take the kids on their first Disneyland trip. They stopped by for an overnight stay and came bearing gifts! They brought us the most delicious, local booze, a particularly awesome Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka, some Kentucky Straight Bourbon... and also these ROCKIN' fresh cheese curds, that I was told only the Pioneer Woman herself uses.
I knew INSTANTLY what to do with the cheese curds. Fry them! I've been chasing after Forge Pizza's Fried Cheese Curd recipe for the past year, and so far this is the closes I've come. They are the ULTIMATE mozzarella stick, if you may.
Prep the Beer Batter for the cheese curds:
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp aleppo pepper
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 - 12 oz. beer (I prefer a brown ale)
- ½ cup club soda
- 1 large package cheese curds (I used jalapeño jack)
- canola oil for frying
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl, and set aside. Toss cheese curds in dry mixture, and coat evenly. Shake off any excess flour mixture. Set aside floured cheese curds and make the beer batter. Mix club soda and beer into dry mixture, and mix well until only a few clumps remain. Let stand about 15 min.
Toss cheese curds in beer batter**, a handful at a time, shaking off any excess batter, and drop them into a deep fryer, filled with 3" of canola oil, set to 375º F. Oil temp will drop down to around 350º, which is perfect. Fry for about 2 - 3 min. until golden brown, and cheese just starts to squeeze out. Drain on paper towels, and keep warm in 250º F oven on a cookie rack set in a baking sheet, or eat immediately. Serve with Tomato Basil Sauce, recipe below.
Note** I like to use any leftover batter to fry up some onion rings, or other fried veggie.
Start by making my Tomato Basil Sauce:
- 1 - 28 oz. can San Marzano whole tomatoes, crushed and strained of most seeds
- 1 - 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce
- 6 - 8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbls EV olive oil
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp red chile flakes, optional
- 1 bouquet garni, (I use thyme and oregano)
- ¼ cup of red wine, (I like Cabs)
- 1 Tbls chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tbls chopped fresh parsley
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, pour 3 Tbls olive oil, and add sliced garlic. Reduce to low heat, and SLOWLY sizzle the garlic, until it looks almost crisp with a deep golden color. This may take up to 15 - 20 min, (I usually crush and strain my tomatoes while this is cooking). Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, bouquet garni and red pepper flakes, (if using) and stir. Turn the heat up to medium, and simmer for about 15 - 25 min. Add chopped fresh basil and parsley, stir and keep warm.