Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Those Cheesy Czechs

It’s mid-afternoon, and I feel like having some cheese. That’s because in researching today’s entry on Czech cuisine, I was inspired by the love of cheese shared by the people of the region. Being quite the cheeseophile myself, I was curious what Czechs consider delicious when it came to cheese.

The Czechs do have specific cheeses native to their region and you haven’t lived until you’ve tried Olomouc cheese, a type of aged cheese from the Moravian region. Quite aromatic and flavorful, cheesemakers in the small town of Loštice have been making it since the 15th century. Known as the “Guttery Breath of the Knight of Lostice,” the cheese is so ingrained in the country’s history that when the European Union tried to outlaw it, The Czech government asked for special permission to keep it.

Much of the Czech people’s love of cheese comes in the form of specific recipes that center around cheese. Here are a few types I was particularly intrigued by…

Nakládaný hermelín
Hermelin is a soft cheese that comes from the same family as Camembert. You marinate the cheese with peppers, onions, garlic and oil. It’s commonly served in bars and can be deep fried.

Pivní sýr
Beer cheese! This is a soft cheese that’s soaked in beer until it’s soft. It’s usually mixed with onions and mustard. It’s often served spread on bread or toast.

Smažený Sýr
By far my favorite of the cheese recipes. You take a slice of cheese – perhaps Edam, Camembert or Hermelin – and coat it in bread crumbs, then fry in oil. It’s served with tartar sauce and potatoes. I even found a recipe for it! I haven’t tested it myself yet, so if you try it at home, you can’t call us and say it wasn’t tasty.

Smažený Sýr (Fried Cheese)
Serves 2

Ingredients
-2 slices Edam or other soft cheese, each 1/3 inch thick
-1/4 cup flour
-1 cup breadcrumbs
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
1. Dip cheese slices into flour to form a light coating on all surfaces.
2. Dip each slice into lightly beaten egg and coat completely.
3. Dip each slice into breadcrumbs and coat completely, pat crumbs onto any areas that are not coated.
4. Pour oil into deep frying pan to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat to 375 degrees F.
5. Carefully place slices in pan and fry on one side for about 20 - 30 seconds, or until golden-brown
6. Turn and fry on the other side for another 20 - 30 seconds until golden brown.
7. Serve with tarter sauce, boiled potatoes and salad.

Enjoy!

-Heather Tinley, Opera Colorado Marketing Coordinator

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