Yes, I'm pulling this thread up from more than a 2 year burial, just to share a quick recipe for a snack.
This snack is great for your own home, but also good for parties since most people tend to gather in the kitchen... and if you like to play the role of cook/host and treating others, this is a simple thing to cook up and it will be eaten fairly quickly too.Chicharrón de Queso
It's the cheese (Queso = Cheese in Spanish) version of Chicharrón, which is fried pork rinds. This is considerably more healthy and also vegetarian friendly! This recipe can be found on a couple places around the internet each with their own variation. What I'm presenting here is a very simple method of approach to making one, much simpler than most of the recipes I've found, and also noting some general guidelines of nutrition information for it. You can always add some interesting bits while it's cooking/frying.
The nutritional information (including percentage of fat removed!) is at the end.
-Four slices of any cheese. These are the common 'deli' square slices of cheese, but you can also slice your own if you have a stock. You can also use shredded cheese. What kind of cheese? Experiment! I've had great success with aged sharp cheddar (used in this example), jack, colby, and Jarlsberg. I've also tried havarti, muenster, swiss, provolone, and mozarella to varying degrees of success.
-A large, very flat frying pan or frying surface. The pan, ideally, would have low wall height and have as large of a flat surface as possible. This can be non-stick coated, as used in this example, but you can also use a regular surface as well since the oil will generally prevent the food getting stuck or burnt.
-A flat spatula. I used a spatula (metal) that is commonly used for spreading frosting on a cake. Crepe/Pancake spatulas also work well.
-A small cup (to gather the oil)
-A plate and a shape of some sort - this can be glass or metal. I've used a bowl that I've turned upside down, but I've also used cleaned wine bottles.
1. Put the frying pan on high heat and immediately lay down the slices of cheese. If you are using shredded cheese, spread it out evenly and avoid piles.
Heat level, for reference:
I tend to cook this on high heat. You can also try it at a lower heat, but things will simply take a bit longer to remove the oil.
2. The cheese will begin to fry in its own oils. Normally when you would fry something the recommendation is to add oil to the pan. In this case we're letting the oils of the cheese itself fry the cheese.
Here is a little animated gif to show you what it looks like while frying:
During this process two things are happening: the oil is separating from the cheese (while frying the cheese at the same time) and the cheese itself is crisping a bit.
2.5. While it is cooking you can prepare where you will shape/form the melted cheese. In this case I've turned a small bowl upside down onto a plate. I've placed it just off to the side while the cheese continues to cook. You can also add other ingredients, chopped into small bits, onto the cheese at this time.
3. Remove the oil.
This takes a little getting-to-know how far along you have cooked the cheese. Lift the pan off the heat (keeping the burner on) and tilt it at an angle: the oil should begin to gather at one end of the pan while the cheese generally stays in place. If clumps of cheese are moving along with the oil, let it sit for a little while longer. Pour the oil into a small cup. You can later use the oil for other cooking needs or get rid of it entirely.
3.5 You can use a paper towel to lightly dab the cheese to remove any excess oil from the surface.
4. With the cheese not entirely firm but fairly close, turn off the heat and lift the cheese off of the pan's surface. If the cheese fried properly this should be very easy to do. In some cases, like using Havarti cheese, it may never really firm up completely.
5. Quickly place the cheese over the form and let it droop down into some shape. As it cools it will naturally harden.
Once it's hardened, it can be broken off into pieces and eaten like crisps. Try it out!
What nutritional changes did we make to it?
In this example, I used 4 slices of Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Trader Joe's) -
I managed to measure the amount of oil saved into the cup (but did not count the oil that was removed in the dabbing process) -
So we removed 20g of oil.
If you are removing 20 grams of oil that would be 180 fat calories (20x9).
If the 4 pieces of cheese originally had 320 calories from fat (80x4) then removing 180 would be 56.25% of the fat (180/320).
And we've reduced the number of total calories by about 41% (from 440 - 180 = 260).
So in the end, this snack is for 4 people, with 56% less fat and 41% fewer calories.
And it's delicious.
And cooking for other people is fun.
I have not tried this with Végàn cheeses, but I'm interested in seeing how those turn out.
Havarti frying up: