The holidays are coming and with it a lot of celebrations and parties. I am sure you will be serving plenty of cheese and crackers, something I try to avoid, particularly if there is something else to choose from. Why spend those calories!
I don't know if you have noticed, but cheese has gotten quite expensive and to top that, guests barely touch it when there are other exiting things being passed around. In the past, I have been guilty of having a plate of cheese and crackers, as a filler, and invariably, I end up throwing most of it away after I've tired of the leftovers. Yes, I know, it's an easy thing to pull together but believe me, at a big party, it will only go to waste.
To me spending money on cheese makes sense when you serve it like the French, after dinner and before or in lieu of dessert. Then, by all means, spend it on your favorites, but you don't need to go overboard when three different cheeses will do. I usually serve a Camembert which, to me, is a little more interesting than a Brie, paired with one of my favorites, Stilton, and some type of goat cheese. Fig marmalade to accompany and English crackers are all you need to go with it, but don't forget the port!
I came across this simple recipe in the Worldwide Gourmet and thought I would share it with you if case you decide to go to Costco and stock up on all their great cheeses. Great prices but have you notice their size? After a week of making myself sick trying to justify their purchase, I am always looking for things to do with what remains. In this house, NOTHING, ever gets thrown away. Remember those poor kids in China?? Who would have thought they would end up supporting our debt!
You can substitute Brie for the Camembert or something else with the same consistency. Check out the Manchego and Serrano Croquettes I posted awhile back. They are definitely something I would spend my calories on!
Total time: 30 to 60 minutes
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 1 Camembert
- 100 g (6 tbsp.) butter + 20 g (4 tsp.) for the baking sheet
- 40 g (1/4 cup) flour
- 40 g (1/4 cup) cornstarch
- 150 ml (10 tbsp.) milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 250 ml (1 cup) breadcrumbs
- Salt and cayenne
- Oil for frying
1.Make the béchamel sauce: melt the butter; when foamy, add the flour and cornstarch; let color slightly; remove the pan from the heat; whisk the roux while slowly adding the milk; return to the heat and continue whisking until thickened; season with salt and cayenne.
2.remove the rind from the camembert; cut the cheese into strips; add to the béchamel and let melt for 5 minutes, stirring constantly;
3.butter a baking sheet; pour the mixture on it and spread evenly; let cool;
4.heat the frying oil in a pan;
5.in a bowl, beat the egg with 1 tbsp. oil; pour the breadcrumbs in another plate;
6.cut the cheese mixture into squares or sticks; dip each piece in egg, then breadcrumbs; repeat until all the cheese is breaded;
7.fry the croquettes in hot oil for a few minutes; turn so that they brown on both sides; drain on paper towels; place on a serving platter, cover with a cloth to keep them hot and serve immediately.
Here's an idea..melt some hot pepper jelly or fig preserves and serve as a sauce to accompany the croquettes!
Recipe adapted from Worldwide Gourmet