AT A GLANCE
"These look simple, but the result is luxurious and satisfying," says Fassnidge. "You can prepare these ahead and fry them when you're ready." This recipe makes 40.
|01||For poached ham hocks, combine hocks in a large saucepan with vegetables, herbs and peppercorns, and cover with 3 litres of water (hock should be completely submerged). Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until bones easily pull out and meat falls off (2½ hours). Cool hocks in stock, then remove meat, coarsely chop and reserve (you should have 375gm meat). Reserve 500ml ham stock (strained).|
|02||Combine onion, garlic and herbs in a saucepan with olive oil and stir occasionally over medium heat until tender (5-6 minutes). Add reserved stock and milk, and bring to the boil, then simmer over medium heat for flavours to infuse (2 minutes), strain into a bowl (discard solids) and cool (10 minutes).|
|03||Melt butter in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, then add 160gm flour and stir continuously until sand-coloured (blond roux) with a sandy texture (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat. Gradually add reserved milk mixture, whisking continuously until smooth and incorporated. Return to medium heat and stir continuously until mixture bubbles (3-4 minutes). Add hock meat and grated Cheddar, and cook until cheese melts (3 minutes). Stir in mustards and season to taste, then pour into a 3-litre plastic container and refrigerate until set and firm enough to cut (2-3 hours). Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until required.|
|04||Place remaining flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Working with a cheese ball at a time, first dust with flour and tap off excess. Dip floured ball into egg and then breadcrumbs, then repeat egg and crumb stage so the balls have 2 coatings and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until required.|
|05||For mustard crème fraîche, combine ingredients (see note), then transfer to a serving bowl.|
|06||Preheat a deep-fryer to 160C and deep-fry cheese balls in batches, turning, until golden brown and hot on the inside (2-3 minutes; take care, hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper and serve immediately with mustard crème fraîche.|
Note Crème fraîche varies in consistency. If necessary, whisk until thick enough to spoon.
2012 CHANNING DAUGHTERS ROSATO DI SCULPTURE GARDEN. , suggested by OLIVER TUCKER