Breaded, melty cheese is something that crosses cultures—from deep-fried mozzarella sticks at state fairs to queso frito in Latin America. Inspired by those foods, we've taken squares of cheese are breaded and "fried" them in the waffle iron for just a minute, until their outsides gturnet golden brown and crunchy and their insides become perfectly melted and gooey.
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Queso fresco is a delicious, milky, fresh cheese that is a breeze to make. It doesn't melt, so it's a great cheese for grilling in cubes or slices, and is awesome crumbled over soups or salads.
This insanely delicious sandwich requires a little more prep work than most but it is absolutely worth it: Filled with juicy, shredded beef short rib, sweet and tender caramelized onions, melted Gouda cheese, and a sharp mustard sauce, then tucked into griddled marbled rye bread, they're far more than just an easy snack. This is an indulgent meal unto itself.
Okay, tag this one for cold weather. Beyond rich, this bread pudding from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer Purcell (co-authored with Sandy Gluck) is total diet-busting comfort food. It's like filching the cheese toasts off 20 bowls of French onion soup and soaking them in heavy cream.
A dynamite duo of ripe, juicy tomatoes and creamy burrata cheese joins briny kalamata olives, aromatic lemon zest, and ribbons of fresh basil, all garnished with quality olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and a finishing sprinkle of fresh-cracked pepper and flaky sea salt.
This take on eggplant Parmesan uses zucchini in place of the eggplant. Rather than bake the breaded, pan-fried disks as one big layered mass in a baking dish, this version features little individual stacks of alternating layers of pepperoni, a tomato sauce, fresh basil, and a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The result is something both homey and company-worthy at once.
Rich, hot beer-cheese soup may not sound like ideal summer fare, but this version is made with a warm-weather cookout star—smoky grilled brats—that transform it into a dish that's seasonally appropriate. Flavored with cheddar and spiked with a bit of Velveeta for improved texture, it's my go-to meal when I want a taste of my Midwestern roots.
Delicious drop biscuits—quick and easy to make—are stuffed with scrambled eggs loaded with melted mozzarella cheese, a touch of feta, and plenty of fresh dill. On the surface, this may seem like a lot of work just for breakfast, but it actually couldn't be easier to prepare.
While I'd never eaten a Frito salad before this week, I am very familiar with bean-heavy taco salads. These I'd eat as a teenager, convinced that they were healthier than tacos themselves, even when decorated with several handfuls of tortilla chips. Lisa Fain's Frito salad in her new cookbook, The Homesick Texan's Family Table, is much better than those salads I ate as a kid.
I didn't grow up in Texas, but I did eat my fair share of Tex-Mex as a kid. Saucy burritos, sizzling fajitas, and giant bowls of cheese dip all hold fond places in my heart, even as I have grown to love a two-bite chorizo taco much. One of my favorite dishes to order at these restaurants was the enchilada platter, drenched in red sauce and smothered in melty Mexican blend cheese.
Everyone likes pizza. Isn't that a statement of fact? Sometimes, though, it's good to switch things up. That's where stromboli comes into play. Containing all the same ingredients in a different package, it's a customizable crowd-pleaser that can be prepared many ways. Ours is stuffed with sausage, garlic, and red peppers.
Paneer makhani, or butter paneer, is a staple in America's Indian restaurants for a reason: it's hard to beat chunks of fresh cheese in a creamy, buttery tomato sauce. It's also drop-dead simple to make at home.
I was one of those weird kids who always liked okra. Something about the snappy skin and pop of the seeds made me forget the slime and embrace the long, pointy vegetables. I did, of course, almost always eat okra breaded and deep fried, so maybe I just liked the salty, greasy crunch.
Creamed corn, made in the slow cooker, is gussied up with cream cheese, American cheese, and crème fraîche.
The Roberta's cookbook also begins with pizza, so we too will kick off our week with a pie. The Speckenwolf is a mainstay on their menu. It's a simple white pizza topped with paper-thin slices of smoky cured speck, creamy fresh mozzarella, earthy mushrooms, and sharp red onions. It's the tiny sprinkle of oregano, though, that totally makes the dish.
This trio of eggplant, tomato, and ricotta cheese makes for a hearty, if not terribly exciting, twist on a caprese salad. Give the appetizer a Paleo twist, though, and the dish transforms into something far more interesting. Michelle Tam's recipe in her new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo, pairs eggplant slices (coated in ghee and broiled) with thick tomato steaks, a balsamic and shallot reduction, and her own macadamia nut-based ricotta "cheese."