Sunday, June 12, 2016

Restaurant Recreations : Minnesota Picnic Cheese Curds

We were in Minnesota for a graduation over the weekend and had to make 2 stops before we came home. One for some sliders...

In the words of Harold and my buddy Kumar, "That's some tasty goodness"!  

We also stopped at the Mall of America. There used to be a place in the food court called "Minnesota Picnic" that had awesome walleye on a stick and deep fried cheese curds. They were just like the ones you can get at the Iowa State Fair. Sadly, Minnesota Picnic closed several years ago. But a quick internet check showed us that the Rybecki Cheese store is still there on the west end of the mall. We've always gotten fresh cheese curds know, the really squeaky ones. We parked and were back to the car in 15 minutes with a couple pounds of regular curds, a pound of ranch flavored curds, and a pound of garlic & dill flavored. 

Since we've been wanting some deep-fried, I thought I'd try to re-create them at home. Found a batter recipe online to try. It starts with a cup of flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 eggs. 

Add 1/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup beer. And that's it!

Whisk it up until smooth. 

Drop the curds into the batter, get them covered and use a slotted spoon (or old fry daddy scoop!) to get rid of excess batter and drop into the hot oil. 

Cook a couple minutes until golden brown. Drain and put on paper towel. 

No need to season them because the curds are nice and salty already. These look good enough to eat!

And they were! Tasted exactly like the Minnesota Picnic and the state fair curds. Salty goodness and a very thin breading. And none of the cheese leaked into the oil.  I also tried a couple variations. For another batch, I put the curds into the freezer for about 15 minutes before battering and frying. We liked the consistency of those a little better. 

We also battered and fried some of the ranch-flavored curds and they were fantastic!  This knockoff recipe is definitely a success!