Caesar Cocktail–Battered Cheese Curds
L’Etoile, Madison, WI
Flavored with paprika, cayenne, and a kick of vodka, the batter for these cheese curds takes its inspiration from the Caesar cocktail, a Canadian riff on the Blood Mary. Tory Miller served these crispy, gooey bites with a creamy buttermilk ranch at the Beard House.
- 1 cup rice flour, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/8 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soda water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons vodka
- Peanut oil for frying
- 8 ounces fresh cheese curds
Combine 1/2 cup rice flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, paprika, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. Whisk the soda water, buttermilk, and vodka with the dry ingredients until combined.
Pour 2 inches of peanut oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Heat to 350ºF on a deep-fry thermometer.
Toss the cheese curds in the remaining rice flour. Dip the curds in the batter. Add them one at a time to the oil. Fry until the batter is golden, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool slightly on a paper towel–lined plate before serving.