Diet buster: Fried mac and cheese balls

Friday, November 22, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 47

Last week, Don and I attended an American Court and Commercial Newspaper Conference (ACCN) in Baltimore. We stayed downtown, across the street from the Chesapeake Bay, and had a beautiful view from our room of the USS Constellation, which is now a permanently docked museum.

Looking out over the water at the gigantic ship and all the neat little shops and restaurants they have built around the bay is a wonderful, scenic view.

I wanted to write a little about the history of the magnificent old ship, but she seems to have quite a lengthy one. What I can generally summarize from is that the first Constellation, a frigate designed by naval constructors Joshua Humphrey, Josiah Fox, David Stodder, and the superintendent of shipbuilding, Captain Thomas Truxtun, was built at the Sterrett Shipyard in Baltimore and launched on Sept. 7, 1797.

In 1797, the first ship of the U.S. Navy, the United States Frigate Constellation, was commissioned, named for the flag of the Continental Congress.

Because of her swiftness and handling ability, Constellation became known as the “Yankee Racehorse.”

Thousands of sailors serving America and the U.S. Navy aboard ships named Constellation have written a proud, illustrious and stellar history while protecting and defending freedom for both America and other nations.

There’s more than I can possibly write in this article, so instead I’ll just highly recommend, should you ever be in the area, that you put a tour of the ship on your A-list. You won’t regret it!

Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

1 pound of elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 cups of milk, warmed, plus two tablespoons for egg wash
1 pound of grated Cheddar
1 pound of grated, smoked Gouda
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
3 cups of seasoned breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Prepared Marinara or Alfredo sauce

Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour into the butter and whisk, cooking about two minutes. Whisk the warmed milk into the flour mixture, working out lumps. Cook until the sauce thickens – about two minutes. Remove from heat, add the cheeses, and stir until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the cheese sauce into the macaroni. Pour the mac and cheese into a shallow pan and refrigerate until cold – at least two hours.

Shape the cold mac and cheese into meatball-sized balls and place them onto a waxed paper-lined tray. Freeze overnight.

Beat the eggs and two tablespoons of milk together to form an egg wash. Pour the breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl. Remove the mac and cheese balls from the freezer. Dip the frozen balls into the egg wash and then into the breadcrumbs. Put the balls back into the freezer until you’re ready to fry them.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the mac and cheese balls until they’re golden brown and the centers are hot – about five minutes. Serve hot, sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese, and with Marinara or Alfredo sauce for dipping.

The only thing I can think of to improve the tour is that they serve cheesecake and fried mac and cheese balls.

Well, I know that last sentence threw you for a loop, so let me explain:

We were also right across the street from the Cheesecake Factory, a definite nemesis to our diets. We had cheesecake for dessert after dinner, as a midnight snack, and even for breakfast one morning. No kidding.

However, my recipe is about the fried mac and cheese balls that the restaurant serves.

We ordered these as an appetizer, but they could easily have been our dinner (along with cheesecake as dessert). They too, are delicious and would be an excellent party appetizer, so I decided to get a recipe.

This is a slightly different sample of the restaurant recipe, but no one will notice. Even though a bit lengthy to make, they are delicious, and the results are rewarding.

This recipe serves about six (two each). Enjoy!