Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pimiento Cheese Fritters for Annie

As I mentioned in the Virtual Holiday Party post, one of the biggest benefits of blogging for me is the friendships I've developed along the way.  One of these friendships is with the ever-fabulous and famous Annie, of Annie's Eats.  She is one of the most talented, smart and funny people I know, and I'm so glad to consider her a friend.  I am positively thrilled for her and her sweet family because she is going to have a baby girl in April!  Being a mom to a girl myself, I know how much fun they are, how cute (and dangerous) the clothes are, and how incredibly sweet and cuddly they are. 

In honor of Annie's impending baby girl, Courtney of Cook Like a Champion put together a virtual baby shower for our dear Annie.  Of course I was excited to participate - I had so much fun with the virtual holiday party, and I was looking forward to another fun blogger shindig.

Since Annie is from the midwest and I'm a southern gal, I wanted to introduce a bit of southern culture to her and the other participants.  I really don't think I've ever been to a bridal or baby shower where pimiento cheese wasn't served, so I decided that I would make that my contribution.  But this shower is for one of my favorite foodies, so I knew I needed to step it up.   

For those of you who aren't familiar with pimiento cheese, it is basically a spread for sandwiches that is made up of extra sharp cheddar,diced pimientos (or roasted red peppers), enough cayenne for a small kick, and just enough mayo to bind it all together.  I treat it as a condiment and eat it on everything from toasted pita, to grilled cheese sandwiches, as a dip for veggies, to burgers. 

One of our favorite restaurants in the area is Relish, and the focus is modern southern cuisine.  They are quite famous for these pimiento cheese fritters, and whether we go there for lunch or dinner, we always order a plate of them.  They are crispy on the outside, and filled with melted, gooey cheese on the inside.  Dipped in a sweet-spicy pepper jelly, they are one of the most addictive snacks (or meals) ever.

I actually tried to make some fritters a few weeks back when I made fried green tomatoes, but they completely melted into the hot oil and were a massive failure.  I did a little research, and actually found the recipe from Relish.  The keys to successful fritters are using a combination of cream cheese and mayo for stability, and completely covering the cheese with the panko coating.  Once those things are taken care of, they are easy-peasy.  It is both exciting and dangerous how easy and delicious these fritters are, and since Relish has sadly closed, at least now I know I can get my fix at home.

Both Annie and Courtney have the full round-up of what everyone else contributed to the party.  Be sure to check it out - there are so many yummy dishes that it makes me even more sad that we're not throwing a real-life shower!  Congratulations, Annie!

sidenote:  this recipe makes a LOT of fritters.  I actually only made 1/4 of the recipe when I made these and ended up with 10 fritters, so adjust the quantities accordingly.

Pimiento Cheese Fritters
recipe from Relish, via 11 Alive News
  •  1 1/4 lbs extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 oz. pepperjack cheese, grated
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/3 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 gallon peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • red pepper jelly, for serving
Combine the cheddar and pepperjack cheeses in a large bowl.  In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, add the cream cheese, peppers, Cajun seasoning, mayo, and salt.  Puree until smooth, then combine with the  cheese.  Use a rubber spatula to combine well.  Season with additional salt if necessary.  Chill at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Scoop tablespoon-size portions of the pimiento cheese and roll them into smooth balls.  Arrange them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Into 3 separate shallow dishes, add the flour, buttermilk, and panko.  Dip each ball first into the flour, shaking off any excess.  Next roll in the buttermilk, and finally coat with panko.  Repeat the buttermilk and panko, being sure that the entire ball is covered - if any of the cheese is showing, it will leak out while frying.  Continue until all the pimiento cheese has been coated.  Return to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour.

Add the oil to a large pot.  Place the pot over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees.  Fry the pimiento cheese 6-8 fritters at a time, for 3-4 minutes, until they are golden-brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon or skimmer and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  Continue until all the fritters have been fried.  Serve immediately with pepper jelly.


Jessica - The Novice Chef said...

Oh Josie! You are after my heart with this one! I have not had these in years! YUM! What a great contribution to the virtual baby shower!

Annie said...

I will so be trying these myself. Who can resist fried cheese, especially with some spice to it? I know Ben would love them too. Thanks for being part of the virtual shower, Josie. It means so much to me.

Blog is the New Black said...

Never made fritters- great job! :)

Courtney said...

For me, you can never go wrong with fried cheese. I love pimento cheese, and this is one of the most inventive ways I've seen it made/served. I also love the red pepper jelly accompanying it. What a perfect combination! I can't wait to try these. Thanks again for participating in the virtual shower, Josie! :)

Shanon said...


Hallelujah! That's really all I can say. Fried cheese? Yes, please! I have never tried pimento cheese before. I am adding this to my must-do list immediately!

Shanon :)

elly said...

These look SO delicious. You really can't go wrong with fried cheese (or peppers)! Ugh, we really need to live closer together to make these treats not as virtual. :)

Anonymous said...

I soo have to make these, cheese and fried, what more is there to say!

Lauren said...

Holy cow - how awesome do these look?!

Kelsey said...

Mmmmmm...this Oklahoma girl loves her some fritters! These look great Josie, especially with the pepper jelly. What a wonderful choice for Annie's shower!

ash said...

mmmmm pimento cheese!! :-) these look so good!

Nikki (Pennies on a Platter) said...

I made pimiento cheese a few years ago and haven't made it since. Now that it's back on my radar, I just don't see any other way to make it except as fritters like this! Looks so insanely delicious!

Amy (Sing For Your Supper) said...

Oh YEAH!! These look awesome!! I love pimento cheese so much! And I bet the red pepper jelly is delicious with these! This shower has been SO much fun and I'm thrilled to have been a part of it!

Erica said...

Oh wow. These looks sooo good! I am currently living in Mexico and don't have access to pimento cheese but I'll be making these bad boys when I get back to the South in June! Bookmarked!

courtney said...

I am so excited to find this recipe!! Poogan's Porch here in charleston has pimiento fritters on their menu...I am addicted to those bites of fried cheese-y goodness and have always wanted to learn to make them at home!

Spencer said...

Wow! These look so tasty and Great!

Muriel Miller said...

Wow do these look yum or what!!!! Can't wait to try these!

Jen said...

First, how sweet of you all to do the virtual baby shower!

Second, oh my god. These fritters look amazing. I would order these at a restaurant in a heartbeat. How perfectly Southern!

Vegolicious said...

These look sinfully delicious!

I’d love for your to submit them to Vegolicious, a vegetarian food photo gallery where readers can browse beautiful photos to discover new recipes and wonderful blogs. If you would like to share this recipe with our readers please submit a photo along with a link to this post.

Caitlin said...

Um, I want these now and it's not even 8am yet!

Anonymous said...

I've never made fritters before. Yours look amazing and I love the addition of the pimientos too! Yum!

Mika said...

Those sound just amazing!! I want a bite!

June said...

Oh my goodness, these look amazing! I'm putting them on my menu for looks to me like they deserve top billing. Thanks for sharing.

dining room tables said...

Thank you for sharing a very nice recipe! I would love to try this one. I think it is really something so delicious.

Chuyen Le said...

Yummy....I want to make this for my reception. But do you know if I can make it in advance? Like a week?

Josie said...

Chuyen, I haven't ever made them in advance, so I can't really say. If you want to try it, maybe freeze and then reheat in the oven? Good luck!

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