I want to make some for appetizer. I need suggestions on:
1. Types of cheese (I know there are different kinds one can use, but what is the difference between them?)
2. How to do it?
3. Lemon or no lemon?
4. How to eat it; accompaniments?
I follow a recipe by Nigella Lawson that calls for halloumi, a Greek sheep's milk cheese that is made for grilling/frying. Many types have a little mint in them, but I've never really noticed the flavor at all. Halloumi is good for frying/grilling since it stands up to heat very well and has a very interesting texture, sort of like cheese curds (an upper midwest favorite) and -- sorry but it's true -- styrofoam. It is one of my favorites and was the hit of a barbeque I went to last summer when I tried this for the first time.
Slice up some halloumi into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Fry in an unoiled nonstick pan or put on a clean oiled grill (I always use the frying pan since my one grill attempt was a bust). Brown on both sides, plate, and then top with:
1. squirts of lemon juice and
2. drizzles of olive oil that's been mixed with some minced red (thai bird?) chili (the ones that are about 2 inches long and look like a pointier red version of a jalepeno) and set aside to macerate for a few minutes.
Heaven! Just eat with fingers or a fork.
Google search "Saganaki" for recipes and various cheeses to use. I like less creamy cheeses so I would steer away from using feta for frying. I also prefer something firmer like Kasseri, Kefalograviera, or Vlahotyri as my choices for frying. Accompaniments should include anything Mediterranean (specifically Greek) -- olives, sliced pitas, tomato slices with oregano and olive oil, etc. I think using lemon on anything is at your discretion. It's very much a matter of taste.
The only cheese i ever fried was basket cheese. With an egg and crumb crust. it fried up well in 3/4 inch of oil in my cast iron skillet. Lemon is personal taste. I like some with some without.
I'm such a traditionalist... I love mozzarella in herbed panko with a sundried tomato paste/sauce or sundried tomato aioli. No lemon thank you.
AOC in LA makes a really yummy fried tetilla that's served with membrillo. Lemon? It might work...
I've had both baked and fried brie (served with fruit), but my own attempts at making it failed.
A hard to beat one, and super easy, is to do a traditional breading with mozzerella sticks. Take a block of Mozz, but it up into strips, run it through an egg wash, bread crumbs, egg wash again and breadcrumbs again. Then fry them at 365 degrees until they turn brown. Delicious.
If you can get fresh cheese curds, they're great. I have cut larger pieces of mozzerella, make a little slit in the center as a pocket, stuffed prosciutto in, and then dipped and fried. I'm terrible at frying but it turns out pretty good. Not something I make often, though.
I am a huge favorite of fried goat cheese (especially on a roasted beet salad!)- I take the Laura Chenel log and put it in the freezer for 20 or 30 minutes to slice rounds. Egg wash and then panko crumbs before pan-frying until lightly golden brown. Once you break through the crispy exterior, there is a lovely, creamy interior.