Smažený sýr (I attempt to pronounce it like the Czechs as smah-jeh-knee seer) is a dish that Jan and I ate every day that we were in the Czech Republic. This probably doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that it is basically a steak-sized portion of breaded and deep-fried cheese, often served with french fries, braised cabbage, and a tartar-type sauce. I had never experienced this cheesy goodness until visiting the Czech Republic, and it didn’t sound appealing to me when Jan described it to me beforehand. But, it was so amazing, whenever we sat down at a restaurant to eat there, that had to be one of the dishes we ordered.
Upon our return, Jan assured me that we were safe from continuing our overindulgence in smažený sýr at home, since he’d tried multiple times to make it and it never turned out right.
Well, we were safe for a while. Some time later we ate at San Francisco’s Cafe Prague, and Jan got to talking to one of the chefs there. The two began speaking in Czech so rapidly that I couldn’t even pick out the five Czech words I knew (which include the essentials: beer, ice cream, good, bad, and cheese = syr). Later, Jan reported to me the most important part of their conversation: the secret to making smažený sýr, or fried cheese. Continue reading