What’s For Dinner?
Sonoma Jack Cheese Fritters - from Nava
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
From the Menu of ... Nava,
3060 Peachtree Road N.W., Atlanta
Q: Would you be able to find a recipe for me from Nava restaurant in Atlanta?
I had the Sonoma fritter appetizer and it was outstanding. Actually, everything our table ordered was delicious. Unfortunately, I live out of state and don’t travel to Atlanta very often.
-- Deborah Fitzgibbon, Orlando
A: “Who doesn’t want fried cheese?” asks Nava executive chef Jesse T. Perez, rhetorically. And that’s exactly what this appetizer is -- mostly fried cheese, with just enough stylized hush-puppy batter to hold it all together. A longtime staple on the Nava menu, Perez updated the recipe when he arrived in November 2006. “This is one of the classics, but there’s nothing wrong with improving a classic,” he said.
-- Deborah Geering, for the Journal-Constitution
These fritters make great party food because you can make the batter in advance, and they take literally just a few minutes to cook. Just make sure you serve them right away; they’re no good cold. Dry jack cheese is aged Monterey Jack; a good substitute is manchego.
Hands on time: 15 minutes Total time: 45 minutes Serves: 8 (makes 16 fritters)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
8 ounces dry jack cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup Red Chile Jelly (see link below)
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until a smooth batter is formed. Make sure there are no lumps. Stir in the pecans and cilantro, stirring to mix well. Fold in the cubed cheese and toss evenly with a spoon to mix well. Let the mixture set for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
When ready to serve, preheat the 2 cups oil in a deep fryer (you’ll need about 2 inches oil) to 375 degrees. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to shape the batter into balls the size of golf balls. Carefully place in the hot oil and cook about 3 minutes, turning once or twice for even cooking, until they are a medium brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot, 2 fritters per plate, with 1 tablespoon Red Chile Jelly.