Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fried Pimento Cheese Bites

Fried Pimento Cheese Bites @menumusings.com
I think we can all agree that pimento cheese, "the pâté of the South," is truly a Southern staple regardless of where it initially got its humble beginnings.  For you history buffs out there, some sources have linked this creamy spread all the way back to pre-World War I days in the New York area.  And I'm pretty sure that everyone on the planet knows that pimento cheese sandwiches at the Masters golf tournament each year are a huge tradition.  But just every now and then, there are a few of us who like to shake things up just a bit!   

You all know I have a love affair with cheese, right?  And taking that a step farther, melted cheese is simply something I've never been able to resist.  These little appetizers sandwiches are ooey gooey and rich, with a crunchy exterior, and just a bit of spice to them.  You can make up a tray of them ahead of time and have them waiting in the fridge for a cocktail party, then fry them up in like 2 minutes for a platter of passed hors d'oeuvres that will knock everyone's socks off!  Try them with your favorite homemade pimento cheese recipe, or buy some premade spread if you are in a time crunch.  


Ingredients:
These ingredients just expand to the amount of product you are making.
  • Pimento cheese spread
  • White bread
    • one of the few times it's allowed in our house
  • Hot and Spicy Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Oil for frying
  • Optional - ranch dressing for dipping 

Step-by-Step:
First things first. If you are making your own pimento cheese, my personal opinion is that it tastes best if you make it a day ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  That gives all the flavors time to marry together.  

Secondly, I know that you hardly EVER see me using sliced white bread, but this is the traditional way of serving pimento cheese, so that's how we are are gonna do this.  The white sandwich bread is also the most square in shape of all the sliced breads, and that is going to be important in this recipe.  

Alright.  Let's get to it!  Full disclosure, I didn't measure a thing, as you can see after the initial preparation of the pimento cheese spread.  I made that up on the preceding day.   You'll want to take it out and allow it to warm up enough to spread.   Next, cut the crusts off.  This gives us a pretty, square edge.  The crust also has a different texture and the crumbs won't adhere as well. 
Cut the sandwich into four small squares.  They may look small, but I assure you, they will be rich, so each is plenty big for an appetizer bite.  
We're gonna use these Hot and Spicy Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers for the coating.  Don't worry, they aren't that spicy, but the little bit of extra kick does help balance out the richness of all the cheese.
Don't be mad at me, but here again, I didn't measure.  I just sort of made up a standard egg wash.  A couple of eggs and some milk.  I probably used maybe... 1/4 cup of milk?  **Feeling a little bit on the wild side?  Add an extra dash or two of Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce to the egg batter to really get your party rocking! 
Get that all whisked together.  Meanwhile, you can sort of see in the background, I had kitchen elves helping me to crunch up the cheese crackers.  You can put them in a ziptop bag and have someone pound the with a skillet or rolling pin, or just crunch them by hand.  It doesn't matter.  You can even throw them in a food processor if you really don't want to get your hands messy.  But if you do have small kids around, they find this part a lot of fun.  
Okay, quickly dip the sandwich squares in the egg wash, then press to coat into the cracker crumbs. In the egg wash, don't leave them too long or it will be too soggy.  In the crumbs... really PRESS them into the bread.  
Now we have these pretty, golden cubes that we can either fry now or put into the fridge for frying later.
Fried Pimento Cheese Bites @menumusings.com
To fry, heat canola or peanut oil to 350 degrees F in a heavy pot.  Lower the sandwiches slowly into the oil and fry briefly - around 1 - 2 minutes until a coppery color, turning once in the oil.
Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
Fried Pimento Cheese Bites @menumusings.com
 Optional - serve with ranch dressing to dip in.
Fried Pimento Cheese Bites @menumusings.com

I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!
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Written Method:

First things first. If you are making your own pimento cheese, my personal opinion is that it tastes best if you make it a day ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  That gives all the flavors time to marry together.  Secondly, I know that you hardly EVER see me using sliced white bread, but this is the traditional way of serving pimento cheese, so that's how we are are gonna do this.  The white sandwich bread is also the most square in shape of all the sliced breads, and that is going to be important in this recipe.  

Alright.  Full disclosure, I didn't measure a thing after the initial preparation of the pimento cheese spread.  I made that up on the preceding day.   You'll want to take it out and allow it to warm up enough to spread.   Next, cut the crusts off.  This gives us a pretty, square edge.  The crust also has a different texture and the crumbs won't adhere as well. Cut the sandwich into four small squares.  They may look small, but I assure you, they will be rich, so each is plenty big for an appetizer bite.  We're gonna use these Hot and Spicy Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers for the coating.  Don't worry, they aren't that spicy, but the little bit of extra kick does help balance out the richness of all the cheese.

Don't be mad at me, but here again, I didn't measure.  I just sort of made up a standard egg wash.  A couple of eggs and some milk.  I probably used maybe... 1/4 cup of milk? **Feeling a little bit on the wild side?  Add an extra dash or two of Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce to the egg batter to really get your party rocking! Get that all whisked together. Meanwhile, you can sort of see in the background, I had kitchen elves helping me to crunch up the cheese crackers.  You can put them in a ziptop bag and have someone pound the with a skillet or rolling pin, or just crunch them by hand.  It doesn't matter.  You can even throw them in a food processor if you really don't want to get your hands messy.  But if you do have small kids around, they find this part a lot of fun.   

Okay, quickly dip the sandwich squares in the egg wash, then press to coat into the cracker crumbs. In the egg wash, don't leave them too long or it will be too soggy.  In the crumbs... really PRESS them into the bread.  Now we have these pretty, golden cubes that we can either fry now or put into the fridge for frying later. 

To fry, heat canola or peanut oil to 350 degrees F in a heavy pot.  Lower the sandwiches slowly into the oil and fry briefly - around 1 - 2 minutes until a coppery color, turning once in the oil.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot.  Optional - serve with ranch dressing to dip in.  

2 comments:

  1. Do you know if this would work baking these in the oven? I really hate to fry things! But they sound so good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there. I haven't tried it, so I'm afraid I can't say. But if you try it, please let us all know. I'm sure the cheese would melt just fine. I'm just not sure how the cracker crumbs would be - hard? crunchy? tough? soggy? On the other hand, it may work out just perfectly. I'm sorry I'm not able to give you a better answer. :(

      Delete

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