With such words as “recession” and “cutbacks” sweeping the daily headlines, there’s never been a better time to indulge –– your taste buds, that is. Warm breaded Camembert cheese topped with this sweet-tart spread made from tiny red berries is a savory starter dish or a sophisticated snack. Serve alongside a cocktail made from currant-flavored vodka, and all the world’s woes seem to disappear!
Fried Camembert Cheese with Currant Coulis
2 pints fresh or frozen red currants, stemmed and washed
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon currant vodka
1 1/2 pounds Camembert cheese
1 cup flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
4 cups peanut oil, for frying
Place the currants in a small saucepan with water and sugar. Bring to a boil, and cook gently for 10 to 12 minutes or until soft. Purée in a food processor or blender, adding currant vodka and a little more water if the mixture is too thick. Set aside.
Slice cheese into six wedges, and refrigerate until very cold and firm. Beat the eggs in a bowl, and place the flour and panko bread crumbs in separate individual bowls. When the cheese is cold, dip each wedge, one at a time, in flour, patting off any excess. Then dip in eggs, drain, and coat with panko. Be meticulous about covering every spot of cheese. Reserve coated cheese on a platter in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Remove the cheese wedges from the freezer, and dip each wedge in eggs and panko again, being careful to drain each wedge after dipping it in eggs and to thoroughly coat with panko. Place wedges in the freezer for another 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the peanut oil in a large stockpot or saucepan to deep-fry temperature (350 degrees). Fry wedges, three at a time, until golden-brown, about 1 minute. Do not stir because the breading is easily broken. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Transfer to a large roasting pan, and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
To serve, coat each plate with currant coulis. Top with a wedge of cheese, and serve immediately, accompanied by a shot of black currant vodka.
Copyright 2009, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger