Prosciutto, Melon, and Fried Goat Cheese Salad w/ Honey Balsamic Reduction

September 18, 2018 by Nicole Collins

Guys, when did it become more than halfway through September?

Is it just me, or is this year FLYING by? I can't believe we're a few days away from the first day of fall.

We're getting in to my least favorite time of year. You guys should know by now that I am not built for the cold weather, and it is slowly but surely creeping up on us.

First of all, I'd like to file a complaint. I feel like we got totally gypped of a summer here in Baltimore. I mean, the temperature sure was right for summer. It was even more HUMID than normal this year. It was the kind of humid where you needed another shower the second you stepped outside. But, that didn't matter much, because it pretty much rained allllllllllll summer. So, there wasn't much time to enjoy anything outside unless you wanted to be a drowned rat.

And, I did not.

Second, I'd like to rub my magic genie lamp and make a wish. I wish we could just fast forward through the next couple of months, taking a few pauses along the way, straight to May. There are a few days I'd like to stop on. 1. My birthday. 2. Thanksgiving. 3. Christmas. And, then we can operate at half speed the week following Halloween.

What's so special about that week? That's the week The Yummy Muffin goes international!

That's right! My Italian vacation is almost here! I can't believe it's almost time already. I'm super nervous, but totally excited. My goals are to eat all the food, drink all the wine (and hopefully return loving wine), and find my future husband (Italian, or otherwise). :-) I don't think that's setting the bar too high, do you?

I was out to dinner a couple of weeks ago at this new pizza spot in my neighborhood, and we ordered this appetizer of melon, prosciutto, and burrata with grilled bread drizzled with balsamic on the side. IT WAS AMAZING!

My friend was quick to mention that this type of appetizer was exactly how all of the meals start in Italy. Lots of breads and cheeses and meats. And all I could say was “that sounds like heaven”.

So today, we're taking some of those same flavors from that amazing appetizer and throwing them in a salad. You know, I have to eat healthyish now so I can eat all the things when the time comes for my trip.

Today, we're making Prosciutto, Melon, and Fried Goat Cheese Salad with Honey Balsamic Reduction.

I know. That one is a mouthful. But, trust me; it's worth it. And, remember when I said healthyish? The “ish” part is to make up for that word “fried”.

This is just a simple side salad that starts with a spring mix salad mix. If you've been with me for a while, you know spring mix is by far my fav. I love the dark leafy greens, the contrast of colors and flavors, and the ease of availability to find the premixed bags in the supermarket.

We're going to toss some balled cantaloupe, some crispy baked prosciutto, and some Italian seasoned fried goat cheese in to the salad. I chose goat cheese for this, because I love the ooey gooey texture of warmed goat cheese. Slices of goat cheese get breaded in some Italian panko then pan fried in some olive oil. It mimicks the creaminess of the burratta from my appie plate but in a warm way. Plus, it's like a little crouton on top of the salad. And, who doesn't love croutons?

To dress our salad, we're going to make a honey balsamic reduction. That's just a fancy way of talking about balsamic vinegar that's been simmered to the point of a syrupy sauce. Since we're really just eating straight vinegar, this reduction is tangy! But, we add some honey to help sweeten it up a tad and a pinch of black pepper to give it a little kick of spice.

Once this salad comes together, you get a really nice balance of salty and sweet. Salty goat cheese and salty prosciutto pair with sweet melon and sweet vinegar to add some flare to our earthy greens. I really like to eat this salad along side of a nice savory frittata. So, that makes it adaptable for brunch, lunch, or dinner!

This salad certainly gets me in the mood to eat like the Italians! Let today officially start my countdown. 43 days!

Let me know if anyone figures out how to fast forward through the rest of the fall and winter, though. Seriously.

But for now, enjoy. And, let's eat!

Prosciutto, Melon, and Fried Goat Cheese Salad with Honey Balsamic Reduction

Serves: 4 Print

Ingredients:

For the Honey Balsamic Reduction:

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 2 4oz logs goat cheese, refrigerated

  • 1 cup Italian panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 egg, beaten well

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 4 cups spring mix greens

  • 4 slices prosciutto

  • 1 ½ cups cantaloupe, balled or chopped

Directions:

  1. Make the reduction: Add all ingredients for reduction to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 10 mins until vinegar has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon. Set aside.

  2. Make the crispy prosciutto: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Places prosciutto slices in a single layer on the pan. Bake for 14 mins. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil. When cool enough to touch, break in to pieces.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 offset 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.

  5. Assemble the Salad: Add greens to a bowl. Top with crispy prosciutto, melon, and fried goat cheese slices. Serve with honey balsamic reduction.

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 melon with the greens, and wait to dress the greens 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 offset spatula worked best.

*You want to make sure you're 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.

*We're pretty much just dressing this salad with a drizzle of thickened vinegar, so make sure you use a brand of balsamic that you really like.

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