My brother and I were born on Armed Forces Day two years apart. That meant that we celebrated most of our birthdays together. When we were older our folks would let us choose a restaurant for our birthday dinner. Right away we chose TGI Fridays as that was all the rage in the 80′s. Now it wasn’t for the fact that they would sing us “Happy Birthday” with a sparkler in our ice cream that we went there, no it was for something more profound- the Stuffed Potato Skins. Remember when those got famous? Years after, restaurants have been throwing all kinds of finger food novelties at us like nachos, loaded fries, Buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, even fried mac and cheese. So when I saw the Squeaky Cheese in Trader Joe’s the other day I wanted to have my own finger food input. These turned out to be fantastic and very, very crispy. My kids went nuts for them with Ranch Dip and BBQ sauce for dipping.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. seasoned salt-smoked if you have it
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 cup water
2 cups panko bread crumbs
48 fl. ounces vegetable oil
BBQ Sauce- I used Trader Joe’s which is delicious
In a large dutch oven or in your deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the batter excluding the bread crumbs. Place the curds in the batter and stir until coated. Place the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Working in small batches, shake off excess batter and toss the battered curds in the bread crumbs coating completely then fry in hot oil for 45 seconds or until golden brown. Remove from grease with a spider or slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Continue frying in small batches until you are done. Serve hot with dips. Serves 6.
Note- The seasonings can be tinkered with like adding, garlic salt, cayenne, or onion powder. Whatever your heart desires.
*Batter adapted from and reprinted with permission from Bobby at blogchef.net. Thanks Bobby for such a great batter.