Fried Goat Cheese Salad

April 13, 2018 by Nicole Collins

Have I got a treat of a salad for you today!

I bet you never thought you’d hear salad and treat in the same sentence.

Here’s the thing…salads get kind of a bad rep. People talk about salads like healthy is a bad thing. So many people assume that salads are flavorless and boring. Or, there’s the misconception out there that eating a salad as a meal will never leave you feeling full.

I totally disagree! I LOVE eating salad. And, I really try to make it a point to make my salads special. Lots of colors. Lots of flavors. Lots of the good stuff.

At the same time, it’s really easy to go down the wrong path with a salad. Once you load it up with fatty salad dressing, fried chicken fingers, and carby croutons; it’s not quite the healthy endeavor you originally embarked upon. That can be discouraging for salad haters too.

Today’s salad definitely sways a little more towards the “naughty” category. But, if you’re going to have something fried in your salad, this is the way to do it.

Today, we’re making Fried Goat Cheese Salad!

Let me tell you, I literally salivate thinking about this fried goat cheese every time it pops in to my mind. And, that’s been a lot lately. It’s incredible.

When I took my French series cooking class a few months ago, we made fried goat cheese to go on our side endive salads. That was the first time I’d ever heard of such a thing. It was kind of a fail, but it was delicious.

The problem we encountered in our cooking class is that we tried to cut the goat cheese when it was soft, and we tried to fry the goat cheese without chilling it first. The cheese just turned to melty, breaded, cheesy goop. Delicious goop. But, goop nonetheless.

So, that’s the first tip to making these glorious breaded medallions…chill time.

Start with a chilled log of goat cheese. Take it straight from the fridge to the cutting board to cut it in to slices. It will help it keep its shape. Then, after you slice it, it goes straight to the freezer. But, we’re only going to leave it in there for 15 minutes. We want to find that sweet spot where the goat cheese gets perfectly melty without falling apart.

After the cheese slices hang in the freezer for a few, we take them out and pass them through a standard breading station of beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs. Neither the egg nor the panko need any extra seasoning. The goat cheese itself and the olive oil we pan fry it in provides all of the flavoring we need.

Then, to the hot pan for a few minutes on each side, and they’re done! But, be careful flipping these babies. They’re slippery! My doggie, Bella, might have a bad habit of standing at her mama’s feet when she’s in the kitchen; and little Bella might have been attacked by flying fried goat cheese. Only her and I will ever know…little Charlie saw nothing.

Though this salad is really about the fried goat cheese, it also has some other redeeming ingredients: fresh spring greens, almonds, walnuts, dried cherries, and shallot vinaigrette. I found this snack mix made by Emerald at Target that had the almonds, walnuts, and cherries already mixed together. Since those were the exact accompaniments that I wanted for this salad, I actually used that since it was much cheaper than buying each individually. If you can find that mix, use it!

The shallot vinaigrette is just your standard vinaigrette with minced shallot involved to spice things up a bit. It’s tangy with a nice sharp bite, and it helps to cut the fattiness of the fried goat cheese a ton. It also matches really well with the earthy greens and the sweet cherries.

The fried goat cheese goes right on top, front and center, of this salad. You’ll be saying “what crouton?” But, this fried goat cheese would make an awesome appetizer all on its own. I know I definitely had more than a couple of these sans salad. Mmm mmm good!

Today’s salad is intended to be a side salad. I actually served mine alongside this Crab and Asparagus Frittata. But, you could easily make it a main course by adding some roasted shrimp. That would be super yummy! I know you love it when I give you options.

Ok guys. That’s all I’ve got for now. But, I can’t imagine you need anything else from me now that I’ve set you up with the best salad ever!

Enjoy, and let’s eat!

Fried Goat Cheese Salad

Serves: 4 Print

Ingredients:

For the Shallot Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 1 tbsp minced shallot

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp honey

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1/8 tsp pepper

For the Salad:

  • 2 4oz logs goat cheese, refrigerated

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 egg, beaten well

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 bag (5oz) spring mix greens

  • 4 packs Emerald 100 Calorie Packs of walnuts, almonds, and dried cherries OR 2 tbsp each whole almonds, chopped walnuts, and dried cherries

Directions:

  1. Make the vinaigrette: Add all ingredients for vinaigrette to a bowl. Whisk until combined. Set aside.

  2. Make the Fried Goat Cheese: Slice each goat cheese log in to 6 slices (for 12 total slices). Place slices in a single layer on a plate, and freeze for 15 minutes. Place beaten egg in one shallow dish, and place panko breadcrumbs in another shallow dish. Remove goat cheese from freezer. Take each slice and dip both sides in the egg. Then, dip both sides in the panko, pressing gently to adhere. Set aside on a plate until all slices have been breaded.

  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat in a large non stick skillet. When the oil starts to shimmer, add goat cheese slices. Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Carefully, flip the cheese slices with a small spatula, and fry the other side for 2-3 mins until golden brown. Carefully, remove the fried goat cheese to a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess oil.

  4. Assemble the Salad: Mix nuts and dried cherries with the spring mix greens. Top with fried goat cheese slices. Serve with shallot vinaigrette.

Recipe notes:

*This salad is best served fresh; however, you can make it ahead. After you fry the goat cheese, allow it to cool; and wrap it in aluminum foil to store in the fridge. When you're ready to reheat it, place the goat cheese on a foil lined baking tray, and reheat it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until crispy again. Wait to mix the nuts with the greens, and wait to dress the greens with vinaigrette until you're ready to serve.

*Be VERY careful when flipping the goat cheese in the frying pan. Those suckers are slippery! And, you don't want to squeeze the gooey goat cheese out of the breading. I found flipping with a small spatula worked best.

*You want to make sure your goat cheese is refrigerated before you slice it. It'll help it keep it's shape and make it a little easier to cut. And, don't skip the freezing step. That helps your goat cheese not turn to a gloopy mess in the frying pan.

*I found the Emerald nut mix at Target.

*You could easily turn this in to a main course salad by adding some roasted shrimp. Yummy!

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