When my sister lived in Greenville, SC, we went to The Lazy Goat every time I visited. I was in love with the place because it was all of our favorite Mediterranean/Middle Eastern foods that our Nana Jeanie introduced to us. I even wrote all about it on this blog. She recently went back to Greenville to visit friends, and it made me miss it. So this week I decided to recreate my absolute favorite appetizer from the restaurant; their fried goat cheese balls.
Once all of the fried goat cheese balls were golden perfection, I topped them the same way as at the restaurant. They got a nice drizzle of honey and a big sprinkle of chopped pistachios. Oh my goodness, it was like being right back in Greenville! The slight change I added was ground mahlab. It’s a traditional Middle Eastern spice made of the black cherry pit. I loved the way that bit of spice came through the sweetness of the honey and tang of the goat cheese. Hope you all love these too! xoxo
These little fried goat cheese balls are pure heaven with a big drizzle of honey and crunchy pistachios on top. So great as an elegant appetizer!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons honey divided
- 2 1/4 cups soda water cold
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mahlab can be found in spice shops and online
- 2 pinches freshly cracked black pepper
- canola oil as needed for frying
- 1 tablespoon shelled pistachios roughly chopped for topping
- First, make the batter. Whisk 2 cups of the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl to aerate them. Then whisk in 2 tablespoons of the honey, followed by the cold soda water. Whisk it all together thoroughly until it is smooth, then refrigerate it until you are ready to fry. After that, take the goat cheese and form it into 16 little balls that are about 1/2 an ounce each. Set them in refrigerator for an hour to firm back up again.
- When the hour is almost up, whisk the remaining cup of flour, mahlab and cracked black pepper together in a shallow bowl. Get out a medium saucepan and fill it halfway with the canola oil. Use a deep fry thermometer to make sure the temperature reaches and stays around 375. Get out the goat cheese balls and batter. In batches of two, coat the goat cheese balls in the seasoned flour first, followed by the batter. Drop them in the oil and stir them around so that they don't stick.
- After a minute, they should be perfectly golden and crispy. Remove them with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat this with the remaining 14 goat cheese balls in batches of two until they are all fried to perfection. Pile them on a plate or in a bowl and drizzle the additional honey on top, followed by the chopped pistachios. Serve immediately and enjoy!