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No proper cocktail party is truly complete without these bite-sized crispy balls of smoked cheese. Serve Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters with my Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Bourbon Glaze, and a punchbowl of Pirates Punch. Pair another favorite cheesy appetizer of mine along with these orbs of smoky goodness, my Crostini with Brie, Coppa and Raspberry!
This is a story about Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters. So, we have all had a taste of good old mozzarella sticks at some point. My friend Rosemary makes mozzarella sticks from scratch and they are to die for. I questioned her going to all the trouble the first time she made them. After all, it is easier to grab a box of frozen mozzarella appetizers at the grocery, open a jar of marinara, and be done with it. That was, until I tasted one that Rosemary whipped up, homemade.
Yes folks, there is something to be said not only for the ingredients in a dish, but also for what’s NOT in the dish. In this case, no stabilizers to keep the outside of a frozen store-bought appetizer ‘crisp’ while the cheese inside baked. No… hers were different and I could tell immediately we were going to be friends for life. These easy Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters I am sort of ‘dedicating to Rosemary’ because she showed me that fried cheese is not only doable, but it ROCKS.
Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters make an amazing “crouton” atop a pretty pre-dinner salad for when company comes. There are days when I find concentrating on work practically impossible. This is especially true if I have an idea about a dish or want to fool around with recipe development. Such is the reason for today’s post rolling out.
In all honesty, I wrapped up cooking it and shooting the campaign months ago, but sponsorships and pre-Thanksgiving/autumn dishes took priority. I am after all, a one-gal show down here in my little corner of the south. You are lucky I am squeezing these little delicacies in before holiday bars and cookies. Just saying.
Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters are 8 ingredients of cheesy, smoky goodness.
My day began like any other. I woke to muddle through my same morning routine and prepared to jump on the computer. When I opened the refrigerator door, a container of ricotta cheese was begging to be used.
Honestly, I had had it in there for several days, and being the Nervous Nellie that I am about food, I hate to “hold” things that spoil quickly. Whatever would I do with a pound of ricotta? What the heck did I even buy it for in the first place?
I think there may have been some impulse buying based on the vague recollection of having seen a recipe for a butternut squash lasagna that I had wanted to try. That thought was quickly dropped when I could not find the recipe upon returning home with the ricotta cheese…
Yet, what I did have was a drawer full of hard and soft and semi-soft cheeses, each neatly wrapped in plastic and arranged in my big clear refrigerator pull out drawer. I keep all and ONLY my cheeses in this drawer. If you saw the size of it, you would pray I never become lactose intolerant for my wallet’s sake. Among this fermented collection of snacks sat an aged smoked Gouda. Gosh do I ever love Gouda.
I had used only a small portion of the block on my Normandy French Onion Soup, sprinkling it over the soup, atop the peaks of the bread croutons, and along the edges of the bowl. There is just something about the golden-brown edges of crusted cheese on the French onion soup crock. I chisel it off with my spoon and just relish in the nutty flavor the Swiss or Gouda, whatever I am using, takes on when it is slightly burned.
I would honestly host a hundred parties this year if it gave me an excuse to make these Gouda fritters over and over. Prepare to eat too many of them because it is just a fact. Gonna happen.
Recipes that call for smoked Gouda, in my repertoire anyway, are few and far between. Maybe it is because I am the only one in the house who loves the flavor. I do not know. But a fried goats cheese ball I’d enjoyed some time ago at a downtown restaurant had me thinking that I wanted to spend this day experimenting with some kind of cheese patty or fritter to top a dinner salad with.
Fritters, whether a coastal seafood fritter which is pretty prevalent here in Charleston on many a dinner menu, or a cheese fritter of some kind or another, I was going to use that ricotta to smooth out a sharper cheese today. Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters seemed to be it, mainly because I was already hyper-focused on the smoked Gouda cheese and how awesome it tastes. I planned to fry it and see if I could mimic a crispy golden outside with a warm, almost runny, and creamy center.
Cheesy appetizers like these Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters are always a hit with snackers and partygoers alike!
Is smoked Gouda a cheese that melts well?
Smoked Gouda is one of those cheeses that unless shredded, does not always melt very well. It requires high heat. Even then, there is no guarantee it will not be evenly melted and silky. Thinking back to Rosemary’s mozzarella sticks, I recalled her using low moisture mozzarella string cheese that she froze before coating in egg and breadcrumbs. I was not sure exactly if that would work necessarily for this.
Without much consideration, I just began shredding the remainder of the block of smoked Gouda. In a bowl, I combined equal parts whole milk ricotta with the shredded smoked Gouda. I added fresh thyme leaves, ground thyme leaves, salt, pepper, and eggs to bind. That is it. No onion or garlic, nothing else that would try to stand in front of the smoke flavor I was trying to achieve.
The thyme I added strictly because I had had smoked cheese pastry in New Orleans with thyme and recall the flavor profiles aiding one another. Thyme and smoked cheese, regardless of what kind, just go together.
Don’t you love arriving to a party where the hostess has offered up some REAL GRUB? Like, the cheesy, bready, meaty kind of foods people love to nosh on while they are drinking?
Frying did not work well at first. My oil was too hot and the cheese balls, freshly rolled in egg and breadcrumbs, were too…warm? Yes, warm from me handling. And tacky. So, before you attempt this recipe, do not make my mistake. Line a baking sheet with parchment or even waxed paper. As you complete each ball, spread out onto the baking sheet.
Do the fritters require refrigeration time before they are fried?
Yes. If not chilled prior to frying, you’ll only end up with a big, messy, gooey blob of cheese and no definition. Clear a place in the fridge large enough to accommodate the baking sheet for at least one hour. I have gotten to where I make these ahead by two days. Once they are firmed up from the chill, I can heat up my oil for the fry, or remove from the baking sheet to airtight containers for a couple of days until I am ready to use. This will free up room in my chiller, too.
Should Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters be served with dipping sauce?
Just like a mozzarella stick, a Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritter needs sauce. I was hot on the trail of several mustard dipping sauce recipes when a method for a great Balsamic honey mustard I had made for Super Bowl a couple of years ago popped up. A honey mustard dipping sauce was easy enough, so I whisked together the ingredients and fried my first fritters. After allowing them to both cool down a bit as well as drain on brown paper bags, I dipped. Yeah, not too good. Too much honey or something. But I was on the right wavelength for certain.
I had been watching mustard commercials for a sponsored post I had been working on and gone the all-in-one honey mustard route, too. Not it. The Balsamic however, was a match. No question there. Needing another savory element to balance this all out, I scrapped everything and put together my own recipe for a Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Bourbon Glaze. I was ‘there.’ This was right. Yep. Bourbon…
Oh! I almost forgot…get my recipe for A Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Bourbon Glaze HERE. It is good on so many things. Up and until now, I used it as a grilling and barbecue sauce, but as a dipping sauce for these cheesy fritters, IT’S KILLER.
What are some tips for making smoked Gouda fritters?
For these fritters, I am recommending the following. One container whole milk ricotta cheese. You will also need equal measure as many a cup shredded smoked Gouda or another semi-soft smoked cheese like smoked cheddar or smoked mozzarella.
I specify using Panko in this recipe. If you do not have access to Panko, around 2 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs will work simply fine. In my initial trials, I used two eggs, but find that for the amounts specified herein, three eggs work the best. If you go over my measurements, add another egg just to be safe.
Canola oil for the fry, NOT OLIVE OIL. Olive oil’s burn point is too low for what has to happen in this method. Canola will get you to the 350 degrees F that is required to not only crisp up the outsides, but also to melt the inside. And Canola will do it without smoking up your kitchen. Remember, we are going for creamy here, so the oil needs to be screaming hot. Use a candy thermometer to make sure you are at 350 degrees F before tossing a ball in to swim.
And as far as the thyme…if you do not have access to fresh thyme based on the season, consider using dried or even ground. In my video above I am using ground thyme and I honestly loved the result.
Smoked Gouda & Ricotta Fritters
- 1 ½ cups whole milk ricotta
- 1 ½ cups smoked Gouda shredded
- 1 tablespoon thyme may substitute dried or ground
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups Panko
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup flour
- canola oil for frying
- Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Bourbon Glaze for dipping
if using my recipe for A Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Bourbon Glaze, click here and prepare ahead of the fritters
- In a small bowl combine the ricotta, smoked mozzarella, salt, pepper, and thyme. In another bowl pour the panko. In a third bowl lightly beat the eggs. Put the flour in a fourth bowl. Line a tray with parchment paper.
- Scoop about a 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized ball of the cheese mixture and roll to make round. Drop into the flour and roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the egg mixture and roll to coat. Transfer the cheese ball to the panko and again roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the parchment-lined tray. Continue with the remaining cheese mixture until all used.
- Place the the tray into the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour. **Note – these cheese fritters may be rolled out and refrigerated for up to 2 days in advance and fried when ready.
- When preparing to fry, heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a large high-sided skillet to 350° F. Use a candy thermometer to accurately test the temperature before frying. Fry fritters in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Keep the fritters constantly moving while frying.
- Remove with a slotted spoon to brown bags to drain and cool slightly. Sprinkle with additional fresh thyme if desired. Serve warm with my Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Bourbon Glaze.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.