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Cheddar Cheese Curds with Roasted Tomato Coulis

Servings: 4


For Coulis:
1 ounce fresh oregano sprigs (1/2 bunch)
1 ounce fresh thyme sprigs (1/2 bunch) plus 1 tablespoon chopped
1 ounce fresh cilantro sprigs (1/2 bunch)
1/2 ounce fresh parsley sprigs
8 medium tomatoes, cored
1 head garlic, split
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For Curds:
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, well beaten
1 pound Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds, 1 to 1 1/2 inch
Vegetable oil for deep frying

To Complete the Recipe:
1 cup fresh parsley sprigs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking Directions:

For coulis: Soak the sprigs of herbs in cold water 20 minutes. Prepare the grill. Drizzle the tomatoes and garlic with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Make a circular bed of the herbs on the grill. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic in a pyramid on top of the herbs. Invert a large bowl, or cover with large piece of foil to seal in the heat. Grill 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are roasted and slightly charred, and the garlic is just softening. Remove from the grill.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a saucepan. Add the tomatoes and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Simmer for 15 minutes, removing the tomato skin that rises to top. Pass the mixture through a food mill or process in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in an ice bath to cool.

For curds: Combine the bread crumbs, cornstarch, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon chopped thyme in the food processor. Process until the bread crumbs are finely ground. Place in a pie plate. Pour the beaten eggs into another pie plate and the flour in a third pie plate. Dredge the cheese curds in the flour, then the egg, and finally the bread crumb mixture. Place the cheese curds on a baking sheet, and set in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Heat 3 inches oil to 365° to 375°F. Fry the parsley leaves until crisp; drain on paper towels. Fry the cheese curds in batches until crisp and warmed all the way through. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon the crisp curds onto the fried parsley. Top with the coulis.

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