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Pimento Cheese Fritters

September 6, 2011

by Elizabeth

I promise I’ll stop talking about Charleston soon, but first we have to discuss these Pimento Cheese Fritters. Which very well may have been one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Now, I’m obsessed with pimento cheese as it is – but if you’re (incomprehensibly) deterred by the real stuff due to a mayo aversion, you will still probably enjoy these. Once the cheese melts, all traces of mayonnaise are gone and you’re left with the world’s greatest cheese spread melted inside a supremely crispy fritter shell.

I did shamelessly ask our waitress at Poogan’s Porch how they made the fritters, trying to finagle some kitchen secrets out of her as I had already planned on trying to recreate them after I took my first bite. “So do they just use regular breadcrumbs?” “Ohhh you must use the PANKO breadcrumbs! Lots!” “Uh huh, and they just dip them in egg wash?” “Ohhh yes! First the flour then the eggs.” “Do they have to chill the pimento cheese in the freezer before frying?” “Oh NO! Never the freezer. Once a customer got mad and accused us of freezing – never freeze the pimento cheese!”

Right, noted. Never freeze the cheese. I did a little google research and found a recipe that looked similar. It called for dredging in flour, then buttermilk, then panko – which I knew was obviously all wrong because the waitress said to use egg wash. I compromised and mixed an egg with a little buttermilk. I also decided to double batter them, because if there was even a tiny spec of pimento cheese not covered with breadcrumbs, the whole thing would fall apart while frying. And I included some cream cheese in the pimento cheese itself, something I would normally never do, but I knew it would make the pimento cheese stick together better – also crucial while frying. So, voilà, Pimento Cheese Fritters à la Liz. Enjoy!

Pimento Cheese Fritters

serves 4 – 6, adapted from Poogan’s Porch, Pimento Cheese recipe from Magnolias, technique from here

Pimento Cheese

4 ounces sharp yellow cheddar
6 ounces extra sharp white cheddar
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 ounce cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped, jarred pimentos (about 1 small jar)
1/8 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Freshly grate the cheeses (do not use pre-shredded cheese). Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Season to taste. Chill for at least one hour before making fritters.

Fritters
Pimento Cheese
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable or Canola Oil
Preserves of your choice for serving – we used Peach Jalapeno Preserves. Poogan’s served Green Tomato Jam.

Mix eggs with buttermilk in a small bowl. Place flour and panko in two more bowls and line up to form a dredging station. Form pimento cheese into small balls – about 1 inch in diameter. Dip each ball in flour, followed by egg wash, followed by panko, making sure the fritters are well covered with each. Dip the fritters again in the egg wash and then the panko. (I use forks to cover in each step and transfer from bowl to bowl.) Place on a baking sheet until you’re ready to fry. If you have time, place them back in the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes to make sure they are well-chilled.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet to 350˙. (Use a deep fry or candy thermometer to measure temperature.) Working in batches, place 6 or 8 fritters in the oil at a time – don’t crowd the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip them all over. They should be brown and crispy on the first side. Fry for 2 more minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet. Let the oil heat back up to 350˙, then repeat with remaining fritters.

Serve with a side of pepper jelly.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 11:49 am

    These look delicious!

  2. LTU permalink
    September 6, 2011 10:37 pm

    These sound amazing! Can’t wait to try!

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