Herbed Mushroom & Cheese Beignets
Beignets are wonderful served warm from the fryer tucked inside a linen napkin and served on a big wooden platter or in a willow basket. Have your guests gather around the kitchen table with a glass of Pinot and nibble away as they await the entrée. For a more formal presentation, make the beignets smaller and serve them with lightly dressed greens. Served either way, they make a hearty appetizer.
- I cup whole milk
- I stick unsalted butter
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup grated Parmesan - 2 ounces
- 1 heaping cup Emmenthaler or Gruyere cheese - 4 ounces
- ½ cup cooked wild mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 quart expeller pressed vegetable oil for frying
- Mixed green salad (optional)
1. Bring the milk, butter, cayenne and salt to a boil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. When the butter has completely melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour.
2. Place the pan back on the heat and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
3. Place the cooked mixture in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition, about 15 seconds. Add the chopped parsley, then the cheeses and mushrooms.
4. Pour the oil into a large saucepan. The oil should rise no higher than halfway up the side of the pan. If it is any higher you risk having the oil boil over the side of the pan.
5. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F. To test, drop a small piece of batter into the oil. It should dance merrily.
6. Drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil one at a time. Be careful not to let the temperature of the oil drop too low. Each addition of dough should elicit the same amount of sizzle as the first. Adjust the heat under the pan accordingly.
7. Fry the beignets until they are golden and puffed on one side, then turn them over with a slotted spoon and repeat on the other side. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
8. Serve the beignets hot in a basket or on the side of a mixed green salad (optional).
Note: A small ice cream scoop can be used to scoop the batter into the hot oil. Be careful no to drop the oil hot oil too abruptly or you risk being spattered.
Do-Ahead: Beignets can be scooped and frozen on a lined sheet pan. After they’re frozen gather and place in a bag until ready to use. Beignets should go directly from freezer to oil and should not be thawed before cooking.