Are you in a rut when it comes to cooking? We’ve all been there — bored of the same old hummus or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but without an idea of what to try next.
For a truly unique meal or appetizer, why not try fried cheese? And we’re not talking those frozen mozzarella sticks. This is cheese that can literally be fried on its own, no pesky breading or egg wash required.
Halloumi is the first frying cheese many people in the U.S. encounter. This firm, brined cheese has a super-high melting point, so it can be fried or grilled until deliciously golden brown on the outside. Pan-fried or grilled halloumi is delicious paired with watermelon and other fruit in the summer for a Mediterranean appetizer, and it makes for a great vegetarian salad topper too. Try some fried halloumi alongside a peppery green salad for a meal that feels both light and decadent.
Bread cheese hails from Finland, where it’s known as leipäjuusto. It’s called bread cheese because its surface takes on a toasted appearance when baked or fried, and it has a texture similar to a dense, chewy bread. Though this fresh cheese does soften up when cooked, it doesn’t melt completely. You can grill or pan-fry it and serve with fresh fruit or jam and honey on crostini or include it as part of a cheese and charcuterie plate. You can also add the pan-fried cubes to sautéed vegetables or use them as croutons for your soup. Bring out fried bread cheese’s sweet side with this cast-iron skillet fried bread cheese with chocolate fig spread.
Provolone does melt, but when cut thickly enough, slabs of it can be pan-fried. It still melts in the middle, but that ooey-gooey center is surrounded by a salty, caramelized crust that is totally to die for. Try it in a tomato sandwich for the ultimate fried cheese experience.
This fresh Indian cheese is much like halloumi. It doesn’t really melt, so its squeaky, briny self stands up perfectly to pan-frying. Try sautéing it with veggies in a spicy stir-fry, pan-frying it and adding it to a creamy tomato sauce or frying then marinating it in olive oil, herbs and spices and serving it with flatbread and chutney. It also makes amazing croutons for creamy soups. You really can’t go wrong.
So the next time you don’t know what to serve during cocktail hour or can’t think of what to make for dinner? It’s all about the fried cheese, baby.