Again with the salads? Yes, this time of year I'm cranking them out right and left. To shake things up, this particular salad offers a little decadence along with the greens!
In a perfect world my husband and kids would be jumping up and down for "salad night". Can you imagine what that would look like? "I want the last helping of salad." "No! You got the most salad last night, I get the extra salad tonight!" "Now kids, there's enough salad to go around." In reality, I have to TRICK them into eating their greens by topping them with rich, crunchy ingredients.
We've all had salads with cheese. What generally comes to mind are those enormous chain-restaurant salads topped with piles of neon-orange processed cheese shred. We're going in a different direction for this recipe...introducing GOAT CHEESE. Possibly, my all time favorite thing to eat! I try incorporating it in just about everything. In fact, I really can't think of anything that wouldn't taste better with a smear of soft, creamy goat cheese on top. Peanut butter and goat cheese sandwiches, pickled pig's feet and goat cheese, goat cheese stuffed Spam....YUM!
Lightly pan fried goat cheese served warm, over cool, crisp granny smith apples and fresh herbs. The crispy goat cheese fills the need for a slab of protein. Coming from a hardcore meat-eater, that's saying a lot! The dressing elevates the tart apple flavor with pureed granny smiths and effervescent champagne vinegar. Add some toasted walnuts, and you have near perfection.
The secret to frying cheese is to slice and freeze it first. That way, as the breading is crisping up in the hot oil, the cheese is thawing and warming. Not oozing out! Those of you who know my stance on frying--this IS a time when it's ABSOLUTELY worth it!
Cheese is milk's leap towards immortality. -Clifton Fadiman
Warm Goat Cheese and Granny Smith Salad
½ peeled, chopped granny smith apple
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ cup oil (veggie is fine) + extra for frying
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup flour
½ tsp. white pepper
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
1- 10.5 oz. log of soft goat cheese
5 oz. Herb Salad mix
1 ½ granny smith apples, julienne
¾ cup toasted walnuts
Do ahead: Slice the goat cheese log into 10-12 ½ inch pieces. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for at least 1 ½ hours.
In a blender, puree the first 7 ingredients, then slowly add ½ cup oil to the dressing until emulsified.
Heat a smallish skillet over medium. Add enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of the skillet—about ¼ inch deep. While the oil is heating, prepare the salad plates by piling salad greens on 4-6 plates, topped with julienne apples and toasted walnuts. (Chilling the plates ahead of time is a nice touch!)
When the oil is hot, quickly dip the frozen cheese rounds into the egg mixture, then flour, egg mixture again, then panko—that’s right—4 dips in all!
Place them into the skillet around the outer edges first, and fill the center last. Pan-fry the cheese for 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side until it reaches a golden brown color. Flip with a small spatula.
When ready, remove the fried cheese and place it on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. Repeat with extra cheese if needed.
Drizzle each plate with granny smith vinaigrette and place 2-3 fried cheese rounds on top of each salad. Serve while the cheese is warm! Serves 4-6.