A little of cheese heaven to put on your plate in the middle of the week!
by Ari Weinzweig
We only make these fantastic fried cheese curds once a week, on Wednesdays. The other evening, a couple of customers were raving about them—which reminded me that though I can take them for granted, it would be wise for me to remember to write something about them and spread the word. “We’re in heaven” I believe is what they said when I asked how they were doing. I can’t guarantee that fried cheese curds are a direct line to a better afterlife, but they are a really good way to get some comfort and fill a craving for a high-end fried food once a week!
If you haven’t had them before, fried cheese curds are about as basic a building block of Wisconsin eating as you can get. They’re pretty surely what you could call “the national dish of Wisconsin.” Years ago, one of the line cooks at the Roadhouse called them “Wisconsin on a plate.” As one customer said, “What’s not to like? Really good fried cheese.”
In the Dairy State when people talk about eating curds, they’re referring either to freshly-made cheddar curds, or to those same unaged curds that have been deep fried. They’re dipped in a batter made with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (which won its now famous blue ribbon at the Chicago World’s Fair back in 1893), then deep fried and served with that same delicious Green-Chile-Ranch dressing that we put on the Fried Chicken Sandwich. The newsletter Belly du Jour said many years ago, “The only thing tastier than a fresh cheese curd is a fresh, fried cheese curd. State fairs throughout the Midwest serve up these golden bites of heaven all month long, but beware: one taste and you’ll be donning a cheese hat before you know it.” If you want to get a heavenly taste of traditional, regionally-based American food, definitely give ’em a try.