Umami Mart Registry

By Haan Riddell

I LOVE CHEESE. This dish is the ultimate cheese dish, perfect when you need to comfort yourself on a rainy day or when you have a bad hangover. This dish is not quite for those on a diet, but what the heck, you only live once!

I tried this fabulous dish for the first time in Sweden. My best friend, who's a vegetarian, invited me out to a Czech restaurant. It was a true hole in the wall -- all brown interior, lots of big, bearded old men and the women wore checked pattern 70’s dresses.

Everybody seemed to be tipsy and awful eastern European music played in the background. What can I say, not a good first impression. But when Karl, our very handsome young Czech-accented waiter came to our table, it all got much better. Perhaps the Staropramen beer helped a little bit as well...

Anyway, here’s a recipe for smažený sýr (Czech for fried cheese) for you!

You will need a sizeable slice of Gouda cheese, or any cheese you like, really, as long as it’s hard. Take the cheese out for about half an hour before you start anything, ok?

Also, you’ll need some panko, all-purpose flour, and a scrambled egg to prep and bread the cheese.

But let's make the roasted potatoes first.

Take some nice potatoes, slice them in half and put in a baking dish. I used a colorful potato mix today, but any potatoes will do -- just sprinkle over salt, pepper and some thyme, olive oil.

Bake for 45-60 min, until mushy inside.

While the potatoes are baking, let’s make the tartar sauce.

You will need mayonnaise -- I used the Japanese version today, since I prefer the taste, but any mayo will work fine. Finely chop red onions, garlic, capers and take a spoonful or two of sweet cucumber relish.

Add some salt and pepper, mix it thoroughly and put in the fridge.

Ok Cheese Lovers, here we go! Slice your cheese about an inch thick.

Pat the cheese in flour.

Then dip it into the a beaten eggs…

…And finally panko the slice, make sure it get covered all over.

Then dip it back into the eggs and once more in the panko. This prevents the cheese from melting out when you fry it.

Heat up a non-stick frying pan, and when it’s hot, add some good olive oil and let it get warm. Then start frying the cheese.

Flip the cheese over a couple of times so it gets nicely browned on both sides. When you can see that the cheese is getting soft, it’s done. I guess it takes about 10 min altogether, but it depends on the cheese.

What more can I say? Dish up the cheese and potatoes, pour tartar sauce over everything and enjoy. If you feel like it, make a little salad on the side, it makes it look so much healthier.

Beer is great with the cheese, but if you’re suffering from a hangover, a Coke is just as good as well!

Bon appetite mes aims.

*Haan is an air steward, chef and sci-fi geek, traveling all over the globe in an Airbus 340 spaceship. Boyfriends are boring so he cooks instead! Supermarkets in the far corners of the Earth, stoneware, and the occasional Star Wars convention rock his world.