These days, I get a lot of questions about newlywed life, usually some variant of “Does it feel any different now that you’re married?” The short answer is “not really,” Brian and I had a happy and great relationship before and that part hasn’t changed. But if I’m going to be perfectly honest, there has in fact been a huge improvement in my life post-wedding, because I’m now back to enjoying some of my favorite foods. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
Case in point: pimento cheese. Every day after work, without fail, I change into my pajamas and make myself a little snack of pimento cheese and goldfish crackers. We get the Palmetto-brand tubs from Costco on an almost weekly basis. This habit/addiction is not something I’m proud of, but I really really love it and find it so comforting after a long day at work. So, rather than curb my consumption, I thought I’d try my hand at Pimento Cheese Fritters. Because if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Or something like that.
The cast of characters: 2 cups grated sharp orange cheddar cheese, 2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese, 8 oz cream cheese, ¼ cup sour cream, ¼ cup sour mayonnaise, a heaping ⅓ cup jarred pimento peppers, drained, finely diced, 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon onion powder, ¾ teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon black pepper, 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 cup panko bread crumbs. Not pictured: ¼ cup sour mayo, vegetable oil for frying, ranch dressing and barbecue sauce.
I can’t quite articulate why, but I really love the branding on this here jar of pimiento peppers. If this is your first time buying these, you can usually find them right next to the jarred jalapeno and pepperoncini peppers.
At its core, this is really just a recipe for breaded and fried pimento cheese. So, if you’re looking to cut down on your prep work, you could easily take an existing pimento spread and skip straight to the breading and frying. But, because this is the first Fryday in a long time, I figured I better make it count and do it the long way.
To start, beat the cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high. Whenever I’m working with cream cheese, I always like to beat it on its own first to avoid any clumps.
Next, add the orange and white cheddar, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, pimento peppers, diced jalapeno, and ¼ teaspoon each of the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Beat on medium until combined, scraping sides of bowl halfway through if needed.
Form the mixture into 1-inch balls, yielding between 2 and 3 dozen. If you’re serving a big crowd, you can roll these into even smaller balls. Use your judgment, because whatever works.
And since I’d already rolled more than enough of these for my purposes, I even saved a half cup of the stuff to snack on, because I have no shame and no patience and need to snack while I make food.
Next up: breading.
Prepare your breading station in 3 bowls. In the first bowl, mix together the flour with ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour milk into the second bowl, and in the third and final breading bowl, combine panko bread crumbs with ½ teaspoon onion powder and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
One at a time, coat pimento cheese balls in flour, then dip in the milk, then roll in panko bread crumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or platter.
Repeat with the remaining balls and place them in the freezer for at least an hour. I can’t stress this last part enough. If you try frying these without freezing them, the cheese will melt on contact with the hot oil. Freezing ensures the cheese stays inside the fritters where we want them.
When ready for frying, pour three-inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan (or fryer – We got this one as a wedding gift and I’m in love!) and heat to 350ºF. Working in batches, fry the fritters until golden brown, about 2 minutes, and transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
When you’re ready to start serving, I recommend mixing together some ranch and barbecue sauce for dipping. Any kind of dip would do, really. But a smoky barbecue sauce and creamy and cool ranch sounded really perfect to me. The ranch to barbecue sauce ratio is entirely up to you.
Serve these babies warm and watch them disappear before your eyes. Brian has already requested these for when he has guys over to watch football.
I personally ate like 12 of these, which is both absolutely horrifying and wonderful at the same time.
That’s it from me today. I don’t know about you, but I’m so very happy it’s Fryday. It’d been far too long. #fatwife
- 2 cups grated sharp orange cheddar cheese
- 2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- 8 oz cream cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup sour mayonnaise
- heaping 1/3 cup jarred pimento peppers, drained, finely diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- vegetable oil for frying
- ranch dressing & barbecue sauce for dipping
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on high until softened.
- Add orange and white cheddar, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, pimento peppers, diced jalapeno, and ¼ teaspoon each of the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Beat on medium until combined, scraping sides of bowl halfway through if needed.
- Form the mixture into 1-inch balls (between 2 and 3 dozen) and begin preparing breading station.
- In a shallow bowl or tray, combine flour with ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour milk into separate bowl, and in third and final breading bowl, combine panko bread crumbs with ½ teaspoon onion powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- One at a time, coat pimento cheese balls in flour, then dip in the milk, then roll in panko bread crumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or platter. Repeat with the remaining balls.
- Freeze the fritters for at least an hour.
- When ready for frying, pour three-inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan (or fryer) and heat to 350ºF. Working in batches, fry the fritters until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
- Serve the fritters warm, with barbecue ranch on the side for dipping.
- Makes 2 to 3 dozen fritters.