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Fried Emmental Cheese With Cranberry Sauce

Oct 19, 2010

Emmental  
I have been practicing this recipe for the last couple of days. The result is 200 grams of wasted precious emmental cheese, almost half a liter of cooking oil and thanks to my three failures, my apartment smells like the deep-fryer itself. The first time I had tried to bake emmental was in Vienna and I remember getting the same result: as soon as I had popped the cheese in the pan, it fell apart and looked so hopeless I didn't bother to investigate what had gone wrong. Dumped the gooey cheese in the waste bin, pretended this attempt never happened. But the smell of burnt cheese and oil had hung in the air for a couple of days to remind me of my failure.

Those days of easy surrender are over. I am devoted to accomplish every recipe I set my eyes at, no matter how hard it may be. In fact, my persistence is stimulated further when I encounter a challenging recipe. Ok, baked cheese might not correspond to that definition all right. But handling cheese in hot oil is not easy. What's worse is, nowhere could I find a decent recipe that tells exactly what to do to prevent cheese from falling apart. Appearently, someone had posted one slipshod recipe on internet and everbody else copy-pasted it so whereever I look that's what I see, with the same rudimentary wording: "coat cheese with flour, then with egg yolks then with bread crumbs and fry in hot oil". Bad news is, it doesn't work. Then, a cooking forum where Austrian housewives share their hands on experiences came to my rescue and that's how I acquired the two vital tips for keeping cheese intact: double-coat (dupple-panieren!) with yolks and bread crumbs and rest the coated cheese in the freezer for at least an hour. 

emmentel with cranberriedMy admiration of fried emmental was planted in Radatz, a charcuterie chain in Vienna where self-service lunch is offered on week days. Radatz's menu varries everyday and it was kind of fun to go there not knowing what they had for the day. There, I had countless top quality lunches for only a couple of euros. It is a place I strongly recommend for those visiting Vienna and want to eat good affordable local food. Keep the name in mind.

So, normally I don't have any problems eating meat but I had become more conservative in Vienna than usual. Being surrounded with pork, blood sausages and even horse meat (legally sold in some sausage kiosks), I was more biased to favor vegetarian options. Fried emmental served with cranberry sauce took me as a surprise first but I tried it anyway. My reluctance to eat jam with warm food, as is common in Bohemian kitchen, evoporated immediately and I fell in love with it. We frequently went to one Radatz on Schottengasse which was on the way to the center of the city. It became my source of happiness in the cold and dark Viennese days, when and if I could be there on days of fried emmentel cheese. My heart would bounce approaching, I'd wonder if it was gonna be my lucky day. But arriving there after busy lunch hours would mean seing the hot tray, once full with fried emmentel cheese, empty. And that would ruin my day.

 gebackener emmentaler

Fried Emmental Cheese With Cranberry Sauce

serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 200 gr Emmental cheese
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 5 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • sunflower oil or other deep frying oil
  • for the cranberry sauce:

  • 2 handfuls of cranberries, washed
  • 3 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch

Directions:

  1. In a sauce pan, bring cranberries and sugar to simmer. Remove from heat
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve corn starch with a tablespoon of hot water and stir into the cranberry sauce. Cool down before serving.
  3. Cut the cheese in rectangles of 1.5 cm/0.5 inch thickness.
  4. Assemble flour, egg yolks and bread crumbs in separate bowls. Coat cheese pieces first with flour then egg yolks, finally with bread crumbs. Repeat once again in that order.
  5. Chill coated cheese in the freezer for 1 hour.
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat. If a pinch of bread crumbs thrown in, start to sizzle immediately it means the oil is hot enough. Reduce heat to medium-high and carefully place the cheese in the pan. Fry each side for 30 seconds maximum.
  7. Drain the fried cheese on a paper towel for a minute. Serve when hot, with cranberry sauce.
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