This weekend, we ate at a new restaurant (for us) that we’ve been hyping up in our minds for the months since it opened. It did not disappoint. The salad bar was magnificent, redolent with all kinds of cheese such as an entire wheel of parmesan, dried meats like pancetta and soppressata, fresh vegetables, shrimp, smoked salmon and, of course, salad.
If the salad bar was magnificent, the meal offering was phenomenal. Waiters with skewers of roasted meats still dripping with juices milled about, offering diners a different delicacy every few minutes: lamb chops, bacon-wrapped filets, sirloin, pork tenderloin, beef and pork ribs, and spicy sausages. The miraculous meats just kept coming.
One of the truly unique and fun parts of the meal was the basket of Pao de Queijo, or Brazilian Cheese Rolls.
These light, airy, almost bite-sized rolls melted in our mouths as we popped them in, one after another. I was pleasantly surprised that when I got home, it was easy to find a recipe for these amazing, flavorful rolls.
I was interested to see that they were made with tapioca flour, which made sense when I thought about how light these cheese-laden rolls came out.
Bob’s Red Mill® Tapioca Flour is a starchy white flour that has a slightly sweet flavor to it. Tapioca flour can be used to help bind gluten-free recipes and improve the texture of baked goods, making them lighter and airier. Tapioca adds crispness to crusts and a chewy bite to other baked goods. One of the best parts is that it’s extremely smooth, which makes for a great thickener in sauces, pies and soups since it never discolors and contains no discernible taste or smell.
Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Rolls)
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
6 Tbs oil
2 tsp salt
4 cups tapioca flour
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 400° F. Combine milk, water, oil and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring gently.
Add tapioca flour to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl that you can use with a hand mixer. As soon as the liquid mixture boils, carefully pour it over the flour.
Mix well on medium speed of an electric mixture. Expect the dough to be very white and very sticky. With the mixer still on, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the cheeses, a little at a time, until fully mixed in. The dough will still be quite soft and sticky.
To shape the dough balls, wet hands with cold water. Using a large spoon, scoop some of the dough to shape balls a little smaller than the size of a golf ball.
Place the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and puffy. Serve warm.
CHEF’S TIP: As soon as they come out of the oven, you can brush with melted butter mixed with some freshly minced garlic.
To prepare ahead and freeze, shape the balls, place them on the baking sheet, and place in freezer. Once they are frozen, transfer to a zip-top bag, and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 181, Fat: 12 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 43 mg, Sodium: 540 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 14 g.
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