Idiazábal, Blis maple syrup, smoked salt

Ah, my first post of 2013. It feels like it has been too long but holiday craziness and lack of funds necessitated a small break.

Here, we have what is essentially an adult cheeto made out of idiazábal cheese, coated with the most phenomenal maple syrup, smoked salt, and maple sugar. I never before could have guessed how a cheeto is made, but apparently it requires steaming, dehydrating, and frying!

Idiazábal is a Basque-Spanish sheep milk’s cheese know for its smoky flavor. I’ve read conflicting information about whether the smoky flavor naturally occurs in the cheese or whether the cheese is smoked in the production process.  No matter what the true case may be, the smokiness is undeniably present.

To start, I made a dough of cheese by grating the idiazábal with my Microplane and tossing it in the food processor with tapioca flour, a small bit of salt, and water.

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I then flattened the cheese dough with a rolling pin between two pieces of plastic wrap until it was about 1/8″ thick.

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I steamed the flattened dough on each side for about 12 minutes to “cook” the cheese, ripped off the plastic wrap, and transferred the cheese-sheet to my dehydrator for a few hours.

The recipes instructs one to dehydrate the cheese until it’s crisp. Mine never reached that point all the way through, so I ended up breaking the sheet into pieces and letting it dehydrate a little bit longer while my boyfriend made hamburgers for dinner. I think breaking it up helped a little bit, but I still wouldn’t call the final product “crisp” out of the dehydrator.

The final step in the cooking process was the frying. The recipe calls for heating canola oil to 425 degrees, but my cooking thermometer only goes up to 400. I believe 400 worked just fine.

Once they were fried, I coated the chips with Blis Bourbon Barreled Maple Syrup, sprinkled some smoked salt and maple sugar on them, and grated a little bit of more cheese over the top. I put them in the oven for a couple minutes just to let the cheese melt over the maple syrup.

How did it taste? All four tasters liked it!….I may have eaten 4 of the chips while offering little in terms of seconds to any of the others.

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