Monday, April 30, 2012

Fried Ricotta Cheese Balls

I have a nerdy little secret (NLS). In fact, I have many. But I just want to put out there that I play Dungeons and Dragons, and I love it. I am so glad to have been introduced to it at all, even if this late in life. I am a level 3 elf druid, and I can kick some serious @$$ when the occasion calls for it.  I play pretty religiously every weekend with my boyfriend Josh, his brother Jake, their dad, Paul, and Josh's best friend, Bob. One of my favorite things about the game, besides the game itself, the camaraderie and laughs, is that I usually get to cook something up---usually snacky food. The guys are also a great help in the kitchen! They usually make suggestions on what they would like to try, we try things out, and then we decide how to improve or enhance the recipe, if need be. Bob saw this recipe courtesy of Giada on the Food Network, and the original can be found here.These were decent, but honestly, kinda bland. We decided that next time we might forget the ricotta and just go with mozzarella or monterey jack, add more salt and pepper (and jalapeƱos for the guys---yuck!), and use marinara for a dipping sauce. But, here goes!

Fried Ricotta Cheese Balls

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes (1-2 mins per cheese ball batch)

-1 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
-1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-2 cups Panko bread crumbs
-3 eggs
-3/4 cups flour
-Vegetable oil (for frying)

Dipping Sauce:
-6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
-2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
-1 tablespoon of honey
-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper

1. For the Fritters: In a small bowl combine the ricotta, mozarella, salt, and pepper.

2. In another bowl pour the panko. In a third bowl lightly beat the eggs. Put the flour in a fourth bowl.

3. Scoop a 1 1/2 tablespoon ball of the cheese mixture into the flour and roll to coat.

4. Transfer the ball to the eggs and roll to coat.

5. Transfer the cheese ball to the panko and again roll to coat. Transfer the ball to a plate. Continue with the remaining cheese mixture.

6. Meanwhile heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees F. Fry fritters in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain.  Serve warm with Balsamic Dipping Sauce.

8. For the Balsamic Dipping Sauce: Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and honey with a whisk. Blend until combined. Season with the salt and pepper.

Bob mixing up the sauce

9. Serve in a small bowl alongside the fritters.

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