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Crisp fried or baked cheese recipe

baked cheese“Even though we’d been vegetarians for years we sometimes had a yearning for bacon.”

Teresa was running a vegetarian restaurant at the time.

“What did you do?” I imagined Teresa hot footing down to the local town wearing a large brimmed hat and scoring a wad of bacon from a backstreet butcher.

“We fried cheese.”

Her face softened with the memory.
“How on earth do you fry cheese?”
“It’s easy. Grab a non stick frying pan. Heat it to a medium temperature and cut your cheese fine. It bubbles up and makes a golden brown crispy alternative to bacon. It’s delicious.”

Tonight we were eating French Onion Soup. It needs little boats of crusty bread topped with grilled cheese. But we had polished off the last of the bread at breakfast. Disconsolate, Danny poked about in the bread bin.
“Never mind, I’ll make fried cheese,” I volunteered.

The Teresa Conversation was at least seven years ago, locked securely in my memory bank.

Not owning a non-stick frying pan, I set a heavy stainless steel sauté pan on the hob. The cheese bubbled, looked promising and stuck firmly to the pan. With enormous effort I managed to prise some cheese off the base of the pan. Tasty but greasy stuff. Not what I had imagined at all.

We were heating the oven for a pizza main course, so I put a few slices of cheese onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, They looked wonderful after ten minutes at 180 (fan) and fused beautifully and irrevocably with the foundation of greaseproof paper.

At this stage D was hovering in the kitchen as I surreptitiously stashed the cheesey greaseproof paper combo in the bin.
“I just need to know how long it will be before supper. 5 minutes? Half an hour? There’s no pressure.”

But there was pressure. I had the fried/baked cheese bit firmly between my teeth. He was granted an extra half hour in The Rat Room whilst I planned my third campaign with a roll of aluminium foil and a cheese grater.

It worked. Ten minutes at 200c / 180c fan had the small piles of grated cheddar transformed to golden brown, bubbling pools. Easily peeled from foil to mouth. If you scrunch up the foil loads of cheese fat will drain away leaving you with mountain peaks of lower fat crisp cheese.

Picking over the spoils of battle, the oven baked cheese won hands down. Light and delicately crunchy with a wonderful concentration of flavour. Great launched on the steaming bowls of onion soup.

Make loads, the crumbs would be good sprinkled over anything that needs added zing.

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  1. Nickwill

    Got peckish after an all-nighter watching the test match, remembered seeing this recipe and tried it in a non-stick frying pan. The better half, watching it frying said she’d never touch it, until it was cooked and drained, I’m fighting her off now!

  2. hi fiona,
    this post reminded me of my childhood. when i was about 10 or 11, my mum went over to australia for a few weeks to visit her sister. my dad was in charge of looking after my sister and i. there were many disasters during that time as i’m sure you can imagine(dads foot going through the floor in my bedroom to the hallway downstairs -hastily repaired before mum got back, the odd lost sock or 3, sick cats etc). but my over-riding memory is of the food we had. it wasn’t great. we ended up living on dads culinary masterpiece which he eloquently called “cheese on a plate”. i gained a lot of weight in those few weeks!

  3. Oops, just read the other comments and realised JuliaB got there before me. 😉

  4. It’s great with parmesan as well!

  5. This also works really well with mounds of grated parmesan, which melts to make little cheesy wafers. Yum!

  6. Kate(uk)

    The best bit of cheese straws are the bits of cheese that escape and go all crispy…

  7. Amazing! We do the same thing at work except it is not intentional. It is just the byproduct of making cheese croissants. But we always end up with very similair cheesy bits which are saved for the staff to munch on. I’ve been reluctant to divulge this in case the customers start demanding we sell those too.

  8. This sounds delicious. I always pick the bits of escaped and toasted cheese when I’m cooking but would never have thought of making a feature of them! Have you tried Halloumi cheese? About 4 years ago I went to Wisley with my sister to go apple tasting – wish I had made a note of some of the varieties because you never get them in the shops here but they were amazing. However, there was also a food tent with lots of tasting going on and amongst other things was halloumi cheese which I had never had before. Unlike other cheeses it doesn’t melt and ooze fat when heated so you can fry slices of it to produce what was described by the demonstrator as vegetarian bacon. On tasting it I could see why they would call it that, the flavour was lovely. It freezes well too.

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