There are few dishes quite as ridiculously yum as deep fried mac and cheese. Crispy crunchy cheesy goodness. It’s like arancini went on an American vacation and never looked back. You can make these bites as spicy as you wish. I added quite a generous whack of Tabasco and also made a Napoletana sauce for dipping with Tabasco in it too.
The components are all pretty simple. Make a roux, add milk so it becomes a béchamel and add a whole lot of cheese and spice to the mix. You’ll see a lot of recipes online will tell you to heat your milk before adding it to your roux. This will make all my old French chefs stick their noses up in disgust. It’s always hot roux cold milk or cold roux hot milk. This prevents your béchamel sauce developing any lumps. Just add the milk in little by little and whisk well in between additions.
Tabasco mac and cheese bites
makes 24 bites
- 350g elbow macaroni
- 55g butter
- 55g flour
- 480ml full cream milk, cold
- 300g cheddar cheese, grated
- 60g freshly grated parmesan
- 2-3 tsp Red Tabasco
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 1 small bunch spring onions, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- 200g breadcrumbs
- 4 eggs
- 60g flour
- neutral oil for frying
Boil the macaroni in salted water until al dente. Strain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Once it begins to sizzle, add the flour and whisk until fully incorporated. Continue to whisk and cook the roux until it begins to smell like freshly baked biscuits. That’s when you know the flour is cooked. Add the cold milk in small amounts and whisk thoroughly after each addition to avoid lumps. Season well with salt and pepper.
Pat yourself on the back- you just made Béchamel- one of the French mother sauces.
Now add the grated cheddar, Parmesan, mustard and Tabasco. Whisk until the cheese has all melted. Stir in the macaroni and spring onions. Pour into a deep dish and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
Remove the firm mac and cheese from the freezer. Using an ice cream scoop or dessert spoon, scoop out little ping pong sized balls and use your hands to smooth and round the edges.
Place the balls on a tray lined with baking paper and freeze again until firm. 1-2 hours.
Whisk the eggs in a little bowl. Season the breadcrumbs well with salt and pepper and place in another bowl. Place the flour in a third bowl and prepare your little production line.
Keep one hand for the egg and the other hand dry for the flour and crumbing.
Dip the mac and cheese bites into the flour, then into the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Now dunk them back into the egg and breadcrumbs again for a super crunchy coating.
Fry the bites in neutral oil at 180˚C until golden brown. 2-3 minutes.
Drain them on paper towel and serve piping hot with a Napoletana sauce spiked with Tabasco, a wedge of fresh lemon and a defibrillator.
*Disclaimer ~ this post has been sponsored by the awesome folks at Tabasco SA