We’ve been starting to eat some good salads this week, which makes me tres happy. This might seem strange because we haven’t necessarily been eating real meals, but salads are something manageable. I can start the chopping or make the vinaigrette and then leave it for hours to feed, burp, and rock the baby before returning to finish it. Its work on a newborn time-frame and it also works to fulfill some of my need to get back in the kitchen and get my creative juices flowing. So what that it accompanied a frozen hamburger? Not the perfect pairing but a decadent and delicious salad anyway.
With this salad I was able to make both the vinaigrette and the goat cheese rounds ahead of time, leaving the goat cheese in the fridge once crusted. In fact, I think returning the goat cheese to the fridge after handling it made for more successful frying when it came time to put the whole salad together.
Fried Goat Cheese and Strawberry Salad with Orange Rose-Nectar Vinaigrette
Taken from loveandoliveoil, originally adapted from My Gourmet Connection
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1-1/2 tablespoons rose nectar or 1 1/2 tablespoons honey plus 1/2 teaspoon rose water (I skipped either rose ingredient since these aren’t something I keep on hand)
1-1/2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10.5-ounce log fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup flour
1 egg, beaten with 1/2 teaspoon water
3/4 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium head red-leaf lettuce
1 medium head Boston lettuce
1-1/2 pints fresh strawberries, cored and sliced
sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)
To prepare dressing, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until softened, about 1 minute. Add the orange juice and zest. Raise the heat to medium-high and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the juice-shallot mixture to a small bowl and combine with the mustard, rose nectar, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside.
In a small dish, combine the panko crumbs, ground almonds and salt. Place the flour, egg and panko-almond mixture in three separate shallow dishes.
Slice the goat cheese log into 12 rounds. Coat the goat cheese slices in flour, dip in the beaten egg, then coat with the panko-almond mixture. Press the cheese rounds lightly into the crumbs mixture to make sure that they adhere well and set them aside while you assemble the salads.
Wash and dry the two heads of lettuce and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Toss to combine and divide amongst four salad plates. Arrange the strawberry slices on top of the lettuce and garnish with a few sliced almonds, leaving space in the center for the fried goat cheese rounds. Set the dishes aside.
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the cheese rounds in a single layer and fry until light golden-brown on the first side, about 2 minutes. Being very careful not to break the crust, turn the rounds over and fry for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to blot any excess oil.
Arrange three of the rounds in the center of each salad plate. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.
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