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Author Notes: I know. I'm a sick puppy. I couldn't help myself. Really I couldn't. And my kids twisted my arm real bad, so I couldn't say no.
We occasionally order fried mac n cheese at Swanky Frank's in Norwalk, CT, or wherever else we spot the stuff. I've always wondered, "can I make this at home??" So here's my version, sorta ramped up if you will, chicken-fried style. I adapted the dredging recipe from the Chicken Fried Steak recipe over at Saveur.
The kids prefer a milder cheese, so if that's your liking, replace some of the sharp cheddar with a milder cheese, like American, which has awesome meltability. And, yes, I use the plastic wrapped kind. (Don't yuck my cheese food yum, thank you.) Cabot just came out with a version which is pretty good.
If you've got a hankerin' to dip these babies in a little sumpin, I'd go straight for arielleclementine's Green Chile Country Gravy, or a simple marinara sauce spiked with some hot sauce. - mrslarkin - mrslarkin
Food52 Review: Hubby walked in just as I finished frying a few pieces of the Chicken Fried Macaroni and Cheese. He took one look and his eyes glazed over just a bit. I think he even started drooling. A few minutes later, the first batch was gone and he was asking for more. Crispy, cheesy and gooey ... A great appetizer that requires few ingredients and comes together quickly and easily. The man or woman in your life will be happy if you make this for them. - Susige - Susige
Serves a whole mess
for the macaroni and cheese
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 cup heavy cream or milk
- 12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar (about 3 cups)
for the dredging
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco
- 1 large egg
- vegetable oil for frying
- FOR THE MACARONI AND CHEESE: Cook macaroni to al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Spray a 9" x 13" cake pan with Pam and set aside.
- In the same pasta pot, heat cream/milk and cheese over medium-low heat, stirring until creamy and smooth. Remove from heat.
- Add cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce. Mix very well.
- Spread macaroni and cheese into the greased pan, smoothing with a spatula. Freeze until firm for about a half an hour, or refrigerate overnight.
- Cut macaroni in the pan into about 20 squares. A bench scraper works well. Just eyeball your lines and press directly downwards with the bench scraper. Or you can whip out a ruler and get all OCD precise-like.
- FOR THE DREDGING AND FRYING: Heat 1/2" vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- In a shallow bowl, mix the flour, paprika, salt and pepper.
- In another shallow bowl, whisk the buttermilk, Tabasco and egg.
- Using a skinny/bendy metal spatula, remove a few squares at a time. Keep unused squares chilled. Dredge each square of macaroni in flour, then egg, then flour, shaking off the excess.
- Fry macaroni squares until golden, then flip and fry other side until golden. Drain on paper towel-lined cooling rack set over a sheet pan.
- Sprinkle with some flaky sea salt if you’ve got it, or kosher salt is just fine, too. Serve hot with a spicy marinara or gravy, or just plain ol' ketchup.