Fried Goat Cheese and Strawberry Salad

Never underestimate the power of a log of goat cheese. Especially when it’s been coated with ground almonds and panko breadcrumbs and lightly fried until crispy on the outside and warm on the inside. Nestled on a bed of fresh lettuces and sweet strawberries, it makes for a delicious warm-weather salad. Granted, it’s best enjoyed as part of a ‘perfect bite’ – one that includes a little bit of each ingredient: lettuce, strawberry, and goat cheese. Hard to do (it takes skill to scoop, stab, and balance all those pieces on a fork), but worth the extra effort.

Fried Goat Cheese and Strawberry Salad with Orange Rose-Nectar Vinaigrette

I realize that just about anything would be delicious when topped with rounds of fried goat cheese, but this application was particularly delectable. The dressing for this salad is one to remember, the floral notes from the rose water paired beautifully with the sweetness of the honey and the tartness of the orange; it’s a recipe that could easily be adapted in a myriad of ways for other salads and uses. A word of warning, go easy on the rose water; too much and it might start to taste like grandma’s perfume. We didn’t have the rose nectar called for originally, and so we made our own by mixing some rose water with honey. It was completely different from our usual thrown together dressings (we haven’t bought bottled salad dressing in years), and we enjoyed the change of pace.

Fried Goat Cheese and Strawberry Salad with Orange Rose-Nectar Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings. Adapted from My Gourmet Connection.


Ingredients:

Vinaigrette:

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

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


Goat Cheese:

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


Salad:

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)


Directions:

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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26 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Anything goat cheese and I’m there. But this is above and beyond my normal expectations of goat cheese! Looks fantastic!

  2. Fried goat cheese is one of the greatest inventions I can think of! And this is one of my favorite salads. I actually turned into panini a few months ago, adding in duck confit. It’s fabulous.

  3. Ooh, that vinaigrette does sound yummy! I’ll have to try it on my next delicate salad. The rose water suggests pistachios… maybe with butter lettuce, fresh sprouts and cucumber!

  4. this looks CRAZY good!! a perfect spring salad.

  5. Looks beautiful! The strawberries really add a nice pop of color.

  6. Hi Lindsay and Taylor!
    I love your recipes. I have an award for you. Please stop by my site to check it out! :-)
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  7. This is similar to the baked goat cheese salad at Chez Panisse (our mecca), and the only thing that has been on the menu since day one. Mike is taking me there for my birthday this week, and we will definitely have it again. I like your variation on the theme, the strawberries look delicious!

  8. It’s so lovely. It would be great for a Friday night dinner on the patio!

  9. I love fried goat cheese and I absolutely love every aspect of this salad! It has everything you need to celebrate the begining of spring.

  10. Yes! I just wrote yesterday that fried goat cheese would be on my chosen last menu (God forbid). Loooove it. And now I desperately want this salad. Even though I just finished breakfast.

  11. Wow! I love your site and just wanted to let you know I check back often to see what you are up to! :) I love to cook and bake as well and love seeing all of your creative ideas! Keep em coming! I make a similar salad…strawberries are amazing on salad, but I use avocado, mozzarella, homemade croutons and balsamic !

  12. This salad just looks like my dream salad. The idea of crispy fried goat cheese disks just makes me feel really happy inside. I’m excited to make it.

  13. I made a strawberry salad last week but did not include fried goat cheese. I can’t wait to add it in! Love your salad!

  14. bookmarking this! love the fried goat cheese addition.

  15. You know, rose water in dressing is a great idea… one of those things that makes me wonder: Why didn’t I ever think of that. Gorgeous. And you’re right: a bit of fried goat cheese can make almost anything better. But, it’s especially good with berries!

  16. I just tried this salad today, using arugula- it was an awesome mix of flavors and textures and I really loved that dressing!

  17. I made this yesterday and it was really yummy. The dressing is a bit labor intensive, but worth the effort!

  18. This looks absolutely wonderful – I’ve been on a huge goat cheese kick and I haven’t tried frying it yet. Brilliant.

  19. I love fried goat cheese, it is the best on salads!

  20. I have a small obsession with rose water. But I never thought to put it in a vinaigrette! Yum!

  21. Oh man, I love fried goat cheese.

  22. I made this last night and it was the most incredible salad I’ve ever tasted. Thanks for a great recipe!

  23. This is one of the best recipes I have seen in a long time: all the ingredients are terrific and the presentation is so great. Nice photos!

  24. Thanks for inspiring me to make my own version of this salad. All of your recipes are just wonderful.

    The link below is a post I did based on your salad: http://saturdayswithmaggy.blogspot.com/2011/08/fried-goat-cheese-salad.html

  25. this is one of my favorite salads (to order!) so i must make it home… this looks sooo yummmmmm!!!

  26. OMG!!! What a great salad. You make me look gooooooood. Thanks

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