Sometimes a fit of ambition hits just as you’re about to get dinner to the table — and on a weeknight, no less.
I’m not sure what possessed me to plunk the large frying pan on the stovetop, grate some seriously sharp, crumbly cheddar and toss it with a whisper of flour, but these cheese croutons were the resulting salad topper.
It made me feel like a superstar. Because it was a Wednesday. Because we were busy and dinner was sandwiched between classes and meetings and we didn’t have time for the frivolity of salad toppers.
I’d quick sautéed the pears and arrayed them on the greens. My favorite cider balsamic was already mingling with my best extra virgin. Walnuts were chopped, at the ready.
But it was all just so… comme d’hab. Not above and beyond. Not worth much mention, really. Oh, it was going to be tasty and satisfying, that whole bit. But then I shredded the cheddar that I’d planned on shaving over the salads, and the frying pan was hot, and well, you know the rest.
They were lacey, but snappable, and they reminded me of two things.
One: a typical after school snack, fourth grade, when I’d place a slice of confetti cheese (that Monterey Jack-cheddar combo) in the middle of a saucer and microwave it until it was melted and bubbly and slid, hot, down my throat.
Two: of snowflakes, each one remarkably different, each one so necessary to my happiness at the particular moment I’m surrounded by their flurry.
adapted from Domino
The flour acts to bind the shreds of cheese, and adds to the crispness. Parmesan works nicely, here, too.
1 C grated sharp white cheddar
1 tsp flour
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine cheddar with flour. Sprinkle a thin layer of the cheese mixture into 2″ to 3″ circles in the pan. Cook as many as will fit, in batches. When the underside is golden, flip gently to other side. Remove from pan and let cool on a plate layered with paper towels.