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Party happy comfort bite

Posted: Friday, Sep. 14, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

"Chef Troy" Gagliardo hosts a weekly cooking segment called "Troy's Everyday Eats" live every Tuesday on WCCB News Rising from 7 to 9 a.m. He has made over 300 appearances on the show showcasing over 1000 of his unique original recipes. He was also voted one of the Top Five best chefs in Charlotte in 2013. Troy has penned a cookbook called Pseudo Southern, which has been endorsed by celebrity chef and best selling author Fabio Viviani. His business Motown Spice Provisions supplies some of the top restaurants and country clubs in the greater Charlotte area for the past 10 years. He is a self-taught chef who learned early on the importance of family and food, and the connection between both, from his parents and grandparents. Contact him at troygagliardo@gmail.com. Visit www.cheftroy.net, and follow Troy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

We are into the part of the year where gatherings are sure to happen more frequently than in the earlier months of the year. Football is here, Halloween is right around the corner and the holiday season will be in full swing until the beginning of 2013.

Small bites of food seem to be in vogue in the form of tapas, mini desserts and sliders. Having a variety of items in smaller portions allows more options for guests with an aversion to a particular dish, ingredient or style of food.

One of my favorite bites to serve, and to eat, are these deep fried mac and cheese bites. Simple to make, using either this basic homemade recipe or – dare I say it – boxed mac and cheese.

The key is to make the mac and cheese the night before to allow it to set. Then it can be cut into small bite size cubes, battered and deep fried. In this version, I snuck some greens in to complement the salty silvers of pepperoni, but anything can be added in proportion to the dish.

For more “Party happy comfort bites” visit www.cheftroy.net .

Deep Fried Kale-Salami Mac & Cheese Bites

• 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
• 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
• 1 1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
• To Taste, Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
• 1/2 Pound Shell Pasta
• 8 Ounces Havarti, shredded
• ½ Cup Pepperoni, chopped fine
• ½ Cup Kale, blanched, ice bath, drained, chopped fine
• 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
• 3 Each Eggs, beaten
• 4 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
• To Fry, Canola Oil

Directions:

1. Cook pasta two minutes under package instructions.
2. Drain and cool, by running cold water over pasta, until completely cooled, drain well.
3. Melt butter over medium heat, add flour and stir to combine.
4. Add heavy cream and raise heat to medium high heat.
5. When cream begins to thicken add cheese and pasta, fold to combine.
6. Once combined gently fold in pepperoni, kale and season to taste.
7. Place in a buttered 8”x8” dish, level of and place in refrigerator.
8. Cool until solid, about four hours or overnight.
9. Preheat oil to 360 degrees.
10. Once cooled loosen sides by running a paring knife along the sides of the dish.
11. Turn mac out unto a cutting board and cut into 16 equal 2”x2” portions.
12. Four vertical cuts and four horizontal cuts, making 16 cubes.
13. Cut each into quarters.
14. Set up bread station in this order: flour, egg, bread crumbs.
15. Dip each into flour, shake off excess, dip in egg to coat.
16. Lift out of egg and let excess drip off before placing in bread crumbs.
17. Once all are breaded, fry in batches until golden, about 2 minutes.
18. Drain on a paper towel, insert toothpick into each and serve.

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