This recipe is a modification of Bobby Flay’s Baked Manchego with Yellow Pepper Romesco. Bobby didn’t bake the cheese, he fried it. I don’t know why the recipe had baked in the name. I wish I had taken a picture, as it was a beautiful dish, but with Bruce ready to eat it as soon as it was out of the pan, I didn’t get a chance to take a picture.
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (divided into 1/2 teaspoons)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 (4 ounce) slices Manchego cheese, each about 1/2 inch thick
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Harissa paste (optional)
- Baguette, thinly sliced (optional)
Four large plates, pie pan or cake pan, large cast iron skillet or nonstick pan, spatula or tongs, paper towels, knife and cutting board, fork
- Put the flour on a large plate and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Stir slowly together with a fork. You don’t want to get the flour into the air.
- Crack the eggs in the pie pan or cake pan, add 2 tablespoons water, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs until smooth.
- Put the panko crumbs on another large plate.
- Cut the large slices of cheese in half longwise. You should have four 1/2 inch thick pieces of cheese.
- Dredge the cheese slices in the flour. Make sure to coat the cheese, then tap off any excess flour.
- Dip the floured cheese into the egg mixture and let any excess drip off.
- Roll the cheese in the panko bread crumbs and press the crumbs against the cheese to make sure they stick. Put the coated cheese on another plate.
- Line a plate with paper towels and set it near the stove.
- Heat the oil in the large skillet or nonstick pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer.
- Add the breaded cheese to the hot oil being careful to put the cheese in away from you so the oil doesn’t splash on you.
- Fry until the first side is golden brown, about 3 minutes and carefully flip the cheese with a spatula or tongs.
- Fry the second side until golden brown, about another 3 minutes. The cheese will be softened.
- Transfer the cheese to the paper towel–lined plate and season with a sprinkling of salt.
- Very gently pat the top of the cheese with paper towels to remove any excess oil.
- Transfer the fried cheese to a serving plate.
- Serve with a harissa paste for dipping the melted crispy cheese in.
Since harissa paste is a pepper sauce, I used it in places of the Yellow Pepper Romesco that Bobby makes. I didn’t happen to have any peppers on hand, but I did have a jar of harissa paste.
I served this with fried andouille sausage, thinly sliced on a diagonal. Slice a bit of the fried cheese off, dip it in the harissa, and spear a sausage slice. One mouthful of goodness.
An olive tapenade would also be lovely served with the fried cheese.