Fried Goat Cheese with Honey and Black Pepper



Author Notes: This recipe is inspired by an appetizer dish offered at the Ecco restaurant in Atlanta, GA. I work for Fifth Group Restaurants (owners of Ecco) and (with the help of Ecco's culinary team), we have pared this recipe down for the home cook to enjoy. This delicious appetizer combines the distinct flavors of honey, goat cheese, and cracked black pepper. Alexandra Palmerton

Food52 Review: WHO: Alexandra Higgins is a brand new member of the Food52 community.
WHAT: Disarmingly delicious balls of molten goat cheese, sweetened with honey.
HOW: Roll balls of goat cheese through seasoned flour and batter, deep fry each, then top with honey and black pepper for an appetizer that's much more impressive than it is labor-intensive.
WHY WE LOVE IT: These aren't your run-of-the-mill fried cheese appetizers. While cheese balls can be overwhelming, the light, crunchy crust, as well as the honey and pepper, balances the tangy goat cheese. We may try adding some lemon next time we make them (and the next time, and the time after that).
The Editors

Makes: 16 goat cheese balls
Prep time: 50 min
Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 4 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups very cold soda water
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, cold (the dryer the better, we like the Laura Chenel Chevre)
  • 6 cups canola oil, for frying (up to 8 cups as needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Directions

  1. To make the batter, sift 2 cups all-purpose flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons honey. Whisk in the soda water until the batter is smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to use -- the batter needs to stay as cold as possible until ready to fry.
  2. The prepare the seasoned flour, combine the remaining 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and finely ground black pepper in a shallow bowl or plate. Set aside.
  3. Roll the goat cheese into sixteen 1/2-ounce balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer, heat the canola oil to 375º F. Roll the chilled goat cheese balls in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour, then roll the balls into the batter a few at a time, making sure to fully cover the cheese ball. Remove them one or two at a time and carefully drop them into the oil, using a slotted spoon to move them around so they don’t stick to each other or the pot. Cook until golden brown, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, carefully remove the goat cheese from the fryer and drain on a cooling rack or paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Place the fried goat cheese into a warm bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

More Great Recipes:
American|Cheese|Appetizer

Reviews (25) Questions (0)

25 Comments

Andrew W. January 3, 2018
The recipe calls for "soda water" which can refer to seltzer or club soda. I'm assuming seltzer, since the recipe also calls for baking powder, but it never hurts to check, so which is it? Am I right in thinking that I could use club soda if I leave out the baking powder?
 
Kem August 8, 2017
A brand called bluebells goats cheese seems to have copied this recipe word for word on their page
 
Jeff November 28, 2016
I have had these at Ecco, and made this recipe this weekend. My batter came out a little thicker than the restaurant ones BUT the taste was so close to what I wanted that I was very happy. Everyone that tried them loved them. <br /><br />I will make WAY less seasoned flour and batter next time, but there will be a next time. <br /><br />Thank you for sharing this recipe!
 
Audrey R. August 30, 2016
You have PARED this recipe down. Not PAIRED.
 
Audrey R. August 30, 2016
Above comment intended for the goat cheese with honey and pepper recipe. <br />
 
Eva V. March 9, 2016
This reminds me of Greek loukoumades (OMG lush!) - they serve them with chopped walnuts and lashings of honey. Will definitely give this a go soon!
 
Eileen B. February 1, 2016
Alexandra, Please thank the team at Ecco for sharing this recipe and being willing to pair it down for us at home. Otherwise I would be trying to figure out what I was going to do with the other 49 1/2 pounds of goat cheese. The next time I go to the Atlanta area I know exactly where I will be dining!
 
Chris M. January 10, 2016
Is I possible to use a different oil other than Canola? Any suggestions?
 
Mindy S. April 3, 2016
I use organic sunflower oil (takes high temps)
 
Annie S. August 19, 2015
@ Cheryl definitely worth the oil! I think they would just melt in the oven. They need to cook fast. They were just delicious. I hope that helps.
 
Cheryl August 19, 2015
Would these work in the oven instead or would it compromise the texture too much? I hate to waste all that oil, as I don't fry very often.
 
Assya April 4, 2015
Just made a small batch of these, thought I'd share my comments. <br />They were absolutely incredible!<br />However, I made a few changes<br />- halved the goat cheese<br />- divided the batter and floor mixture proportions by 2.<br />I still have at least 3/4 of both the batter and the flour so I'd scale them down even more. <br />However my batter was quite thick, which coated the balls well but when they hit the oil, they became flat and looked like scallops. <br />It was fine in my opinion, I was just testing, but if you want to achieve perfect balls, I'd add more sparkling for a thinner batter.<br />Because I was testing a small batch I did not deep fry but only pan fried. I'm assuming this is also why the shape changed, as they could not move freely. <br />Still a great recipe overall, don't be afraid to go heavy on the honey.<br /><br />I'd love to know if anyone has tried freezing these, to pop them in the oven or a pan when having guests? My entire flat reeks of oil now so I'd rather avoid the smell when I have people over. <br />
 
dymnyno April 1, 2015
These sound super delicious and I would definitely order these at the restaurant that invented them. The cook who submitted this recipe made it clear that it wasn't her recipe and the staff at the restaurant tweaked it for home cooking. It is a great recipe but where is the winner's own creativity. (esp being the one and only entry from her)!
 
Wendy G. April 1, 2015
I live in Atlanta, and this is one of my favorites. It's so rare for a restaurant to divulge their recipes (especially one this popular). I think it was creative to bring a recipe like this onto Food52. Thanks, Ecco & Alexandra!
 
Flirty F. March 27, 2015
Both of these recipes in this honey contest sound delicious. I think I may have to make both and see which one turns out better to decide.
 
LE B. March 27, 2015
You def got MY vote! I love that you highlighted cracked black pepper with the honey-- that alone says WORLDS about the talent of the author. Congrats!
 
LE B. March 26, 2015
i love that Greek idea. I was also thinking of combining the chevre with a bit of cooked grain- like wheatberries- for some chew along with the crunch and smoothness of the croquettes!
 
Annie S. March 26, 2015
I tested these for the contest and wow! My husband and I just looked at each other but did not speak. After many years of cooking I often weigh the work/ product ratio. These cheese balls such a great payoff; dramatic in taste not so dramatic in work.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra P. March 26, 2015
Thank you, Annie! It's one of my favorite dishes that our restaurants serve. I was thrilled when they agreed to help pair the recipe down for the home cook to enjoy— everyone deserves one of those "so delicious I can't speak" moments!
 
Alexandros Z. March 26, 2015
A fine restaurant in Greece serves these with some crushed pistachios and a few drops of pomegranate syrup on top of each ball. yummy
 
Author Comment
Alexandra P. March 26, 2015
that sounds delicious!
 
Flirty F. March 27, 2015
OMG! That does sound fabulous <br />
 
anotherfoodieblogger March 14, 2015
Wow, these look amazing!
 
JaneMiami March 11, 2015
This sounds so good, I have to make these for my next party...and I hate frying!
 
Michael E. March 4, 2015
I've had these at Ecco in Atlanta--sublime!