Fried Cooleeney Cheese with Beet Salad

Brocka SaladExtract from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews, with photographs by Christopher Hirscheimer, Foreword by Darina Allen (Chronicle Books, hardback 384pp, US$50, €40).

This is a popular dish at Brocka on the Water * in Ballinderry, County Tipperary. Cooleeney cheese, made by the Maher family in Moyne, near the Tipperary town of Thurles, is often available in the United States.

Camembert may be substituted.

Serves 6

2 eggs, lightly beaten
11/2 cups/90g dry bread crumbs
three 7oz/200g wheels Cooleeney or Camembert, quartered
2 to 3 cups/475 to 720ml canola or sunflower oil
1 small head butter lettuce, julienned
1 recipe beet salad [see below]
1 recipe cabbage with ginger [see below]
canned fruit chutney [recipe given in book, page 350] or another chutney of your choice for garnish [optional]

Put the eggs and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Coat the cheese wheels in the egg, dredge in the bread crumbs, then refrigerate for 1 hour.

Pour about 2 in/5 cm of oil into a deep medium skillet or heavy-bottomed pot and heat over high heat to a tempera¬ture of about 350°F/175°C on a candy/deep-fat thermometer. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, then drain on paper towels.

To serve, divide the lettuce evenly between 6 plates.

Put the beet salad on top of the lettuce, dividing it equally, then arrange 2 cheese pieces on each serving of beets.

Top the cheese and beets with cabbage, dividing it evenly.

Garnish with Brocka on the Water's Canned Fruit Chutney or another chutney, if you like.

Beet Salad

1 lb/5-00 g beets [3 or 4], unpeeled
¼ cup/60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Put the beets into a medium pot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 11/2 to 2 hours or until the beets are soft.

Drain the beets and set aside to cool slightly; then peel them and cut them into l-in/2.5-cm cubes.

In a medium bowl, toss the beets with olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate before serving.

Cabbage with Ginger

1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 small head red cabbage, cored & thinly sliced
1-11/2 in/2.5-4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled & minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Combine the vinegar, sugar, cabbage, ginger, and garlic in a medium nonreactive pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to a syrup and the cabbage is soft. Serve warm or cold.

[*See also listing for Brocka on the Water in Georgina Campbell’s Ireland/Waterways Ireland 2010 “Taste of the Waterways” guide, which is just out.]

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