I’m a person that likes to complain. A lot. Indeed, my poor wife likes to mock me because about one out of every five things I say begins with the phrase “Do you know what really annoys me?”. Of course the usual response to that is a heavy sigh and an eye-roll, followed by “No darling, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”. What can I say? Some people are perpetually positive, and some people are more “glass half-empty”.
I’ll share my latest gripe with you, dear readers, since I’m sure you’re very eager to know. You’d think I’d just be happy that the darkness has gone; that summer is here; that the temperatures are in excess of a balmy 32 degrees every day or so. Well, I am, but I have a big problem. It’s not the perma-daylight that keeps me awake. It’s not the rooster which starts crowing at 3.30am, right when I’m about to finally drift off. No, it’s mosquitoes.
I knew about these obnoxious little trolls long before I came here. I knew they were prolific in summer, and of course they exist in France, but here… they’re just everywhere! Obviously, it doesn’t help that we live next to the forest and not far from a river – both prime breeding grounds for the little suckers, but after spending a weekend in the garden I’ve got about forty bites. Not cool. I have a bad habit of scratching them which ends up making the bite areas huge and inflamed. Bleurgh. Still – to end that little digression on a positive note though, I am thankful that at least I’m living in a part of the world which has a good handle on malaria and yellow fever and the like, so I don’t need to worry about catching something like that from the blood-sucking little parasites.
I did mention being in the garden though – I’ve now planted most things outside. All that remains is the potatoes, and I’m just waiting a few more days for those. The final list is marrowfat peas, leeks, beetroot, runner beans, some sort of red lettuce thing (whose name I can’t remember at all), tomatoes, red peppers, espelette peppers, cucumbers and squash. The potatoes that I’ll be growing are Blue Congo and Apache – sorry about the first link, I couldn’t find any English wiki link about the potato. Here’s one side of the greenhouse after my mosquito-filled weeding and planting session on Saturday.
Elsewhere in the garden, William enjoys helping out with the watering…
When you’ve spent a whole weekend digging, weeding, getting stung by nettles and bitten by evil insects then I think you could say you’ve earned a little rest, right? What better way to relax than with some coffee and cake by the river.
On to the food! I was shopping recently and saw an entire wheel of brie for half price (because it was approaching its “sell by” date – something I always find hilarious with cheese, since it’s probably been sitting on a shelf in a cellar in France somewhere for 6 months before even being shipped to Sweden). So home I went with this massive, calorie-laden disc and then I got a bit stuck as to what I could do with it.
Something I hadn’t made in absolutely years was fried brie (I think the “traditional” version of this dish uses camembert but I’m not such a fan of the stuff). In any case, fried brie makes an absolutely fantastic starter, or even as an hors d’oeuvre if you make the pieces bite-sized. Personally, we ate it as a main course. We didn’t want anything too carby or too filling, and so while this is quite a decadent dish, if you eat it as your only course it really is just the right amount.
I served it with some pea sprouts which I’d seen in the store recently, which were absolutely delicious, and of course a nice bit of redcurrant jelly (or lingonberry jam if you have it!).
- 2 x 150g pieces of Brie
- 40 g Panko Breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsps Plain Flour
- 1 Egg
- 2 tbsps Redcurrant Jelly
You'll also need~200ml sunflower or canola oil for frying
- Mix the panko and flour together in a bowl.
- Place the oil into a large frying pan and put on the stove to heat up. While the oil is heating, crack the egg into another bowl and whisk up to combine the yolk and white.
- Turn each piece of brie over in the egg until all sides are coated and then roll in the panko and flour mixture.
- Roll the panko covered brie again in the egg and then roll a second time in the panko and flour, being sure to completely cover any gaps.
- Once the oil has reached about 150 degrees Celsius, place the brie into the frying pan and fry for a minute or so on all sides, until golden brown all over.
- Serve immediately with the redcurrant jelly.
Lingonberry jam can also be used in place of redcurrant jelly. Anything which has a tart flavour goes very well with the full flavour of the brie.
To pad the dish out into a main meal, serve along with something like, as per the photo, a spinach salad, fresh steamed asparagus and pea shoots, with a twist of lemon and a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzle.
Eva Taylor says
Hi Charles, I feel your pain regarding the pesky skeeters, they seem totally out of control this year. I have bites on my bites! Apparently vitamin B makes your blood smell bad for them, but unfortunately vitamin pills don’t work, it has to be absorbed into your skin. There’s a company in Canada that developed a patch (like the smoking quiter one) and it does work (I’m allergic to the glue). Email me your address and I’ll send you some. I also wear a bug shirt which is a fine mesh but it can get hot and sweaty!
Brie freezes very well too! One year my grocer had the little rounds on sale for a ridiculously low price so I bought 5 and double bagged and froze them! I do a similar thing but I crust it in crushed almonds and bake it, so delicious.
Your garden sounds like it’ll have lots of bounty, wish I had a green thumb.
Hi Eva, it’s very kind of you to offer, though I think it would just make me even more annoyed to have something stuck to my skin all the day. I have a stick of repellent which is actually very effective, but of course you can’t just roll it on all day long, and you have to remember to reapply it when it *is* actually necessary.
Yeah, our friend told us about the brie freezing trick too – will remember that for next time so I don’t feel obliged to eat it all :D.
Shashi @ RunninSrilankan(dot)com says
Fried Brie with red currant jelly – wow! I have had mozzarella sticks with marinara – but haven’t been completely taken by them – I am loving the sound of this fried brie and its accompaniment!
Oh, brie is even better! Mozzarella has an annoying habit of getting hard and rubbery quite quickly after cooking, so you have to eat it fast, or it becomes quite nasty. Brie stays runny and delicious for a a long time – easily throughout the entire meal!
I can’t honestly claim to be able to distinguish between the taste of camembert and brie as, much as I love them both, I rarely have them, and never at the same time but I know that frying a wedge wrapped in a panko coating can only make them taste even better.
Your asparagus stalks are thick and plump like they ones I’ve been finding in grocery stores lately. By the way, I make a batch of your cheap asparagus soup on the weekend and it was very tasty. Steaming seems to have left the asparagus stalks looking fresh and green in your picture. I’ll have to try the method though setting up a steamer always seems so time consuming.
Heh, well, I’m far from being a cheese expert, and some bries sometimes taste strong like a camembert, but in general a brie is much more mild, and in my opinion palatable. Camembert often has a slightly bitter taste.
[email protected] says
Mosquitoes are truly out of control this year. We were so longing for summer days, and it’s really gorgeous this year. But so are the mosquitoes, gorgeously big that is, and jumping out from every nook and corner, even inside of a car! The other night I had one bite me inside of my boots. Arggrrr!!
The plate looks gorgeous!
Hi Minnie – yeah, one has to make a trade-off here… living in the city and having no mosquitoes, or living closer to nature and being eaten alive. I’d still take the countryside I think… at least the little buggers will disappear again come autumn.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Fried brie is such a treat, I love the panko coating!
Chica Andaluza says
Absolutely gorgeous! I love deep fried cheese and your Lingonberry Jam (I have to buy it in Ikea!) is delicious. I feel for youre the mosquitoes – they love me too 🙁
Mm, I can’t wait to go foraging for lingonberries myself this year!
Hotly Spiced says
So sorry to hear about the mozzies! I thought mozzies preferred more tropical climates so it’s a surprise to hear what a problem they are being for you. How annoying! And 40 bites? Now with all that itching going on that would be the next thing on the list to say to your wife, ‘You know what annoys me?’ I love deep-fried brie. I’ve actually never made it but have had this served to me in restaurants and yes, with some tart jam it’s delicious. I think I’ve had it with red currant jelly. Your plated dish looks lovely and I’m so glad you’re having some hot weather and Wee William looks so cute as a gardener xx
Hehe, my wife thinks I’m insane. She has an annoying habit of being able to almost completely refrain from scratching, while I’m jumping around scratching myself every which way :(.
That looks utterly divine! It will certainly make an appearance on our table soon!
Thanks pizzarossa! I hope you have a chance to try it!
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says
I want to sit by that river right now… and just look at your gardener in his turquoise crocs – could he be any more edible? I would be all over your fried brie Charles… sounds delicious to me especially with those gorgeous pea shoots and a generous dollop of your redcurrant jelly to contrast the flavours and textures – beaut! I would invite you to California where it is virtually bug free and the climate is nothing short of paradise but I’m afraid you’d complain about not having anything to complain about 😉 – lol!
Hi Kelly, it was a nice evening – my wife was at work, and I went to visit her aunt and cousin with William, and we all sat by the river and drank coffee and ate cake – very tranquil!
Oh believe me, I’m sure I’d find things to complain about in bug-free California. No doubt I’d find it too hot!
Oh I could get in serious trouble with fried brie. It sounds absolutely delicious! Mike can’t stand brie, so that would mean even more for me – and no doubt I would eat it. This is a fabulous recipe! I’m definitely going to make this one over the summer. Perhaps we’ll have some friends over when I do, so I won’t be able to do too much damage.
Sorry about the mosquito bites. They are awful aren’t they! I’ve been bitten quite a bit this summer already too. It’s odd, usually I don’t get bitten often. They do seem to love the kids too. Ugh. We have some natural bug repellent, but it hardly seems to do the trick. We did put a fan out on the patio the other night. That seemed to help – blew them away! 🙂
I could never stand it when I was a kid, but I still always loved it when it was fried like this – was just so darn decadent.
My wife not only manages to avoid the bug bites somehow (they always go for me), but she’s also got an annoying habit of being able to refrain from scratching them. They like Willy too… in my most recent post I put a picture of him eating a piece of chocolate. It was the only picture I could take of him where this giant red bite on his chin isn’t showing 🙁
Gourmet Getaways says
Ohhh, such cute little helper you got there! Adorable! Darn mosquitoes! Anyway, love the brie and asparagus sitting in one plate. Yum!
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Charles, that’s a scrummy looking plate! Love how you arranged it, and it’s all things I like, so … About those mosquitoes — look at them as the price you pay for living in such a picturesque place. I once lived in a rather ugly place that had a horrible mosquito problem. Not fun! Love the photo of your little garden helper!
Thank you Jean – yeah, it’s not so bad in the grand scheme of things. A small price to pay for being able to see vast open forest out of both of my windows here! 🙂
What a wonderful idea, Charles! My husband has been asking for fried camembert for some time and I have completely forgotten about it, so thank you for reminding me with your creative idea (I must remember to fry brie too!). I would certainly not miss the occasion either! Actually I never look at cheese expiry date. I just smell and taste. What did you do with the rest? Eaten raw or made some other dishes?
(PS I have just read your discussion with Eva; my husband would have a heart attack if he saw brie in the freezer; even though it doesn’t sound like something which would leave the cheese intact, I am very tempted to try freezing a small bit… on the other hand, I never needed to freeze any cheese: we always have at least 1kg in the fridge (different kinds) and I throw away only some forgotten tiny bits…
Coffee and Crumpets says
I hate, hate, hate mosquitoes. They survive even at the high altitude I live and I cannot stand them! Anyway, on to this delightful cheese! I’ve been dreaming about melty Brie since I saw your email in my inbox. Sounds so good, mmmm.
I am going to go look for a where that’s near it’s sell by date!
Anneli Faiers says
One of my favourite things…oozy, creamy hot cheese. Yours looks stunning sitting on top of that asparagus. As for your itchy friends…I remember being bitten to death during the summers at my grandparents summer house. It was a nightmare. So I sympathise. May I suggest you eat more marmite? They hate the taste in your blood! Good luck! x
What a beautiful country you live in! The dish looks fantastic! I love brie! Your boy is so cute! And with understanding wife, life is grand! Right?
I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day! I’m back from Hawaii and great to celebrate the day with my husband.
William has gotten so BIG! He’s already walking? My how time flies! Great pictures Charles. Love the one by the lake and your garden is well on it’s way. My mom had me in the garden right out of the womb so I guess that’s why I love gardening! 🙂 Fried brie? I usually just put it in the oven. I love the panko coating and of course the red current jelly is right there with brie and kiwi jalapeno jam.
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
I’m so glad that you included a photo of your little helper in the garden. I can’t believe how big Willie is getting. I was surprised that you look at the glass half empty as you seem such a jolly fellow. 🙂 I can just imagine how good your fried brie went with the asparagus…what a tasty combination.
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
If there was one mosquito in Sydney, more than 1000 kilometres south of where I live, that little creep would find his way up here and bite me. I feel so sorry for you! I did finally learn a trick that has helped. As soon as you’re bitten, heat a spoon in hot water from the tap and place over the bite. The itch goes away. It’s weird, I know but try it.
Your fried brie would make me very happy and I will try that tomorrow!
Great looking recipe – thank you for sharing it! Love brie but have not had it crumbed or fried like this before. I too dislike mosquitos and that overzealous neighbourhood rooster that crows at around the same time as your one. I do wonder who he’s working for? 🙂
Bibs @ Tasteometer says
Hi Charles, I love fried Brie. Often having it for lunch but also makes a fabulous starter to a main course with dinner guests,