and Ricotta Fritters
4 to 6 side dish servings (makes 18)
1 1/2 cups fresh whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups shredded smoked mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
Balsamic Dipping Sauce:
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Fritters: In a small bowl combine the ricotta, smoked mozzarella, salt, and pepper. In another bowl pour the panko. In a third bowl lightly beat the eggs. Put the flour in a fourth bowl. Line a tray with parchment paper.
Scoop a 1 1/2 tablespoon ball of the cheese mixture into the flour and roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the eggs and roll to coat. Transfer the cheese ball to the panko and again roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the parchment-lined tray. Continue with the remaining cheese mixture.
Meanwhile heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees F. Fry fritters in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with thyme. Serve warm with Balsamic Dipping Sauce.
For the Balsamic Dipping Sauce: Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and honey in a blender. Blend until combined. Add the oil in a steady stream while the machine is running. Season with the salt and pepper. Serve in a small bowl alongside the fritters.