Friday, September 6, 2013

As Gouda as it Gets

OK. So you love mozzarella sticks, cheese curds and saganaki; that fried cheese is just so darn good!  It is a fantastic treat to have on occasion, but I usually have a hankering for it a little more than occasionally. What if I told you that you can make a healthier version of traditional mozzarella stick? Keep in mind, I am using the term healthier very loosely, because I’m still going to fry them.
This recipe will work with sweet potatoes, yams or squash.
I picked up 2 adorable sweet dumpling squash from Belluz at the Market over the weekend. They were just so cute I had to have them! 

Squash and Gouda Croquettes
Thunder Oak Gouda cheese of your choice
Oil for frying
Marinara sauce

Cook the squash according to the directions on the package (and by that I mean roast them in the oven 'til a knife easily pierces the flesh).  When they are cool enough to handle, scoop the orangey innards into a bowl and mash. Add a little bit of flour just to firm the mixture up a bit.
Cut your gouda into small cubes, and mix in with the squash. Season with some salt and pepper.
Set up your flour/egg/crumb station.
With your hand scoop up some of the squash mixture and form it into a finger shape, tater tot, little ball or whatever tickles your fancy.
Dredge in the flour, dip into the egg, and then coat in bread crumbs and set aside.
(note: I got the eggs from Vanderwees at the market. I usually buy their brand at the grocery store, but this was a whole new ball game, er… egg game.  He said it was their first week there- they were glorious! I used the yolks for carbonara and couldn’t believe how round and yellow they were- you’ve gotta try ‘em! Plus, I got 3 double yolks when I was making scrambled eggs and that just made my day! )
Anywho.  Heat about an inch of oil in a pan and turn on medium high heat. When your oil is hot (test with the handle of a wooden spoon- if bubbles appear, it is hot enough) gently place a few of the croquettes into the pan- being careful not to crowd them. When they are nice and browned, remove them from the pan with tongs or a wire scoop, and place on a cooling rack to drain. ( I usually put the oven at 170, and put the cooling rack on a cookie sheet, and use that to simultaneously drain and keep warm.)
I simmered some of the tomato sauce that my Father-in-law made over the summer and added a lot of garlic. A perfect sauce for dunking, complementing both the cheese and the squash.
When you bite into one of these croquettes you’ll get the sweet flavour of the squash, but also the fantastic strings of hot melted cheese.  A perfect way to appreciate your love of cheese!

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