Turkish Cheese Fondue (Muhlama) with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Cornbread Croutons
This dish from the Black Sea region of Turkey combines toasted fine cornmeal with melted cheese to create a fondue (called muhlama) with a flavor reminiscent of cheesy popcorn. Any quality cornmeal will do (Chef Ana Sortun uses cornmeal from Four Star Farms in Northfield, Mass.), but fresher cornmeal means better muhlama. If you can’t find kasseri or kashkaval cheese, asiago is a fine substitute.
- 1 cup cubed cornbread
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal or corn flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup grated kasseri or kashkaval cheese
- 1 cup torn fresh mozzarella such as Massachusetts Fiore di Nonno mozzarella (about 1 large ball)
- ¼ cup goat’s milk feta such as Flying Goat Farm's feta, crumbled
- 4 cups halved Brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Turnip slices and/or pickles to serve
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Spread cornbread cubes on a baking sheet and toast about 12 minutes, or until just browned.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Stir in cornmeal to coat. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, about 6 minutes, or until cornmeal starts to brown. Reduce heat to low, and continue toasting cornmeal until golden and aromatic. Whisk in water until mixture is smooth. Whisk in grated kasseri or kashkaval cheese, mozzarella, and feta, until mixture resembles fondue. Keep mixture warm over low heat.
- In a separate sauté pan on medium-high heat, melt remaining butter until it just starts to brown. Add Brussels sprouts and sear until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Toss sprouts and season with salt. When just tender, remove from heat, add vinegar and parsley, and stir to combine. Pour on top of the cornmeal-cheese mixture, and top with cornbread croutons. Enjoy immediately with turnips or pickles.
Adapted from Oleana