Pan-fried cheese is a common dish in Mexican cuisine and one that has been adopted by Americans in regions around the country. Fried cheese is simple to make and can be eaten every way from plain to atop a variety of dishes. Fried cheese is most often made with a light coating of flour to prevent sticking, although it can also be deep fried.
Select the cheese you prefer for pan frying. The ideal frying cheese is one that has a soft texture without much moisture so that it doesn't become runny. Hard cheeses do not melt as easily and may reach the desired texture only after grilling and not frying. Halloumi, scamorza and mozzarella cheeses are all well-suited to the process.
Allow the cheese to reach room temperature so it is evenly cooked when heat is applied. Refrigerated cheeses tend to remain cold in the center while the outside cooks quickly, resulting in uneven melting.
Cut the cheese into bite-size squares using your kitchen knife. Pour a layer of all-purpose flour into a dish. Place the cheese squares into the dish and turn so all sides are coated.
Cover the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil and turn on medium heat. Once hot, place the cheese into the oil and cook on one side for 30 seconds or until golden brown. Turn the cheese and repeat on all sides.
Remove the cheese from the pan and place onto paper towels to drain the oil. Serve and eat.
- Cheese can also be deep fried. Place dollops or nuggets of the cheese into a saucepan filled one-fourth of the way up with olive oil heated to 325 F. Allow the cheese to cook until golden, then remove.
- Use caution whenever cooking on a hot stove, especially when you use oil which can become very hot and splatter. Keep children well clear of the stove. Allow the cheese to cool sufficiently before eating to avoid burns.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.