Those of you with a critical eye may be thinking that I’m frying up way too much cheese lately, as this recipe follows hot on the heels of last week’s St Tola Ash Log and Wild Leek Fritters. I would counter that there is no limit on how much cheese you can fry.
Cashel Blue is primarily a cheese for eating in its natural state but I managed to control myself and put enough aside to stuff into these crispy balls of loveliness. I haven’t provided a recipe for risotto because I have no wish to start a war about the ‘correct’ way to stir rice or grate Parmesan (see Jamie Oliver and Jollof-gate, or the more recent Mary Berry Bolognese outrage). You mess with famous dishes at your peril. Indeed, no doubt someone will be along soon to lament about my lack of egg to bind the rice, or the fact that I’ve shallow-fried them. Hey-ho, I’ll take my chances; whatever these balls are, they taste amazing. I made mine with leftover mushroom and wild leek risotto but others would work equally well.
The idea for the batter I got from Felicity Cloake, who in turn credits Giorgio Locatelli. Again, some people may shudder at the notion of such a thick batter but I can assure you that it makes for a fantastically crunchy ball.
150g leftover risotto, cooled
75g Cashel Blue, chopped into pieces the size of a thumbnail
1 egg, beaten
170g plain flour
Vegetable or rapeseed oil
Form the cold risotto into balls the size of a ping pong ball with your hands. Poke a hole into the centre of each one and push in a piece of cheese. Reform the ball around the cheese, plugging it with more cold risotto if you need to.
When all the balls are filled and sealed, sift the flour, add the egg and mix with the water to make a thick batter. Pour the oil into a small frying pan to a depth of about an inch and heat until it is hot enough to brown a small piece of bread. I’m afraid the next part is messy and relies on you being very fast and so I wasn’t able to take any photos. Dunk a ball into the batter and quickly flip it over. Remove and put it straight into the breadcrumbs, rolling it around to cover all of the rice. Place into the oil and fry for about three minutes, moving the balls around to ensure they are evenly fried.
The photo below makes it look like there was barely any oil in the pan but make sure you get a good inch depth, so that it can cook through to the cheese in the middle. Alternatively, you could deep fry them if you prefer.
Remove and place on kitchen paper. Serve hot, whilst the blue cheese is still melting through the rice.