There are so many things to say about this recipe, and yet also so little. It’s fried cheese! What more do you need to know?
Well, actually, you should know that this is really two recipes in one. In addition to the crispy, gooey fried cheese, we’re also making our own lavender infused honey to drizzle over top. This honey is not just good on the fried cheese, but on all cheese. It makes such a lovely addition to a cheese platter, and is also great stirred into tea or smeared on buttered toast. The recipe makes significantly more than you’ll need for this dish, but I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding different ways to use it all up.
Now, about that fried cheese. We’re not just frying any cheese, we’re frying up Manchego cheese. It’s a firm sheep’s milk cheese from Spain with a buttery, nutty flavor. It’s delicious on it’s own, and like most other things in life, is even better when deep fried. Watch the video to see just how it’s done, and then run – don’t walk! – to go make some yourself. You can thank me later.
Speaking of Spain, Chaser and I are headed there in the fall for a little getaway, and I am SO beyond excited. Mostly for the cheese. And the jamon. And the anchovies. Okay, who am I kidding? I’m super pumped for it all! We’ll be spending most of our time in Barcelona with a few days in Madrid and possibly some surrounding towns. If you’ve ever spent time in that part of the world, I’d love to hear your recommendations on what to see, do, and obviously eat! Leave your tips in the comments below, then get back to enjoying the weekend.
- 1 cup wildflower, clover or other light honey
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers (2 tablespoons if using fresh)
- 8 ounces (1/2 lb) Manchego cheese
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (more as needed)
- vegetable oil, or other light oil, for frying
- salt, for sprinkling (optional)
- toothpicks, for serving (optional)
- Pour the honey and lavender flowers into a small saucepan over low heat and give it a stir. Once the honey just barely starts to bubble around the edges, turn off the heat and let steep for a minimum of one hour, or up to 24. Pour the honey through a fine mesh sieve and use the back of a spoon to press the lavender flowers to extract all of their flavor and every last drop of honey. Set aside.
- Remove the rind from the cheese, then cut into cubes. Dredge in flour, then dip in the egg, then coat with panko. Repeat with all the remaining cheese cubes, then place them in the refrigerator to set while you heat up the oil.
- Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan with high sides. You want the oil to be fairly hot, around 375-400 degrees, so that the outside crisps up before the cheese oozes out. Drop a few breaded cheese cubes in the hot oil, being sure not to overcrowd the pan, and move them around, turning once if needed, until browned and crisp on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon or strainer on to paper towels to drain, and sprinkle with a little bit of salt while still hot. Repeat with the remaining cheese.
- To serve, arrange the hot fried cheese cubes on a platter, then drizzle generously with the lavender honey. Skewer with toothpicks and serve immediately.
- This recipe makes much more lavender honey than you'll need for the fried cheese. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and use in tea, on toast, on a cheese platter, etc.