Deep fried mac 'n' cheese with spiced ketchup
I suspect hipsters may put pressure on our shrinking health care system in the not too distant future, if foods like deep-fried mac 'n' cheese, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and tater tots are a major part of their food intake. Granted, these all sound like pretty good snacks to have with a glass of coconut curry hefeweizen. So having just taken into my possession a benchtop deep-fryer, let's give it a go. Note: Prepare mac squares in advance as they need to freeze ahead of frying.
Hip to be square: It's a bit hard to go past deep-fried mac and cheese. Photo: David Reist
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For macaroni and cheese
50g plain flour
2 cup milk
100g grated gruyere
150g grated cheddar
1/2 tsp salt
Good grind black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1tbsp Dijon mustard
2 eggs, well beaten
Panko bread crumbs
Peanut, grapeseed or sunflower oil for deep frying
Extra grated parmesan for garnish.
Some bacon (optional)
For spiced tomato and herb ketchup
1kg ripe tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried chilli
90ml red wine vinegar
Oregano, parsley, basil, all or any chopped fine
Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft, add chilli, vinegar and sugar, then cook down until the sauce is reduced by two thirds. Stir in tomatoes, cook over a very low heat until it is thick and stir in the herbs. Pulse with a blender to a chunky sauce.
For mac and cheese
1. Line and grease a loaf tin or casserole dish. Cook the pasta as directed. Meanwhile, melt butter and add flour after a minute or so, stirring quickly so no lumps form, and cook for another minute.
2. Add milk and bring to simmer squashing out anything lumpy. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring regularly. This bechamel sauce should be pretty thick but still flowing.
3. Add salt, pepper and mustard along with the cooked and still hot pasta.
4. Then add the cheese, slowly so that it melts but mindful that heat is the key to continuing the melt.
5. Have the lined, greased loaf tin ready. Pour in the pasta so that it is about an old-fashioned inch thick. Cover and chill completely.
6. Turn out and cut into cubes. Arrange separately on a tray, cover with cling film and freeze for an hour or two.
7. Place the flour, then eggs and finally the breadcrumbs, in three separate bowls.
8. Dust the cubes of mac and cheese in flour, shake. Dip them into the beaten eggs. Drain and dredge in breadcrumbs.
9. Heat the oil to 175C. Cook the mac and cheese cubes in batches that won’t crowd the fryer. Fry until they are crispy and have that golden brown look.
10. Serve sprinkled with parmesan and home-made tomato ketchup.
Optional: add some crispy fried bacon, finely chopped to the mixture with the cheese. This will be a powerful pheromone to any hipsters ironically hanging out nearby, so be very careful, you’ve been warned!