Salad with Fried Goat Cheese
This Salad with Fried Goat Cheese has a lot going for it: fresh greens, tangy vinaigrette, and fried cheese. The goat cheese rounds are warm and cushy on the inside, toasted and crunchy on the outside. We have panko to thank for that fantastic crunch.
While the Japanese have been baking bread since the arrival of Portuguese explorers in 1543 (and we all know how delicious Japanese milk bread is), panko has only been around since World War II. It is made from crustless bread (called pan) that is dried and ground into shard-like crumbs (called ko). These large, flaky crumbs of white bread coat meat and vegetables before they are fried.
The result? Light, airy, crunchy coatings that are not greasy or bready.
It is all about texture. Think about how delicious tonkatsu and chicken katsu are with their crisp exteriors. Because the bread crumbs are pockmarked with lots of little holes, the oil drains away after frying leaving a crackly and crispy coating.
Just 30 years ago, panko was not something you could easily find at your local supermarket. When I was youthier, my mom would fry up shrimp tempura as an occasional treat. She would buy the needed panko at an Asian food mart or import store.
But in the late 80s and early 90s, panko crossed the Pacific in a big way and became a darling ingredient with U.S. chefs. They used it to not only coat meat and veg, but also everywhere they would normally use traditional breadcrumbs: a topping for mac and cheese, mixed in with stuffing, and folded into meatloaf.
Its popularity skyrocketed. Today, most grocery stores and supermarkets stock panko. And there is always Amazon.
In this recipe, you dip soft and creamy goat cheese slices in egg wash and dredge it in panko before pan-frying. The fried cheese is then perched on greens and topped with a vinaigrette that is made tangy with apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Sometimes called ACV by those who like acronyms, apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples. Recently people have touted it as a kind of healthy cure-all for different maladies (Google it and be prepared for a deluge of info). But it is commonly used like other kinds of vinegar, that is in dressings, marinades, and pickles.
Apple cider vinegar comes in both filtered and unfiltered varieties. The unfiltered type is cloudy and contains the “mother” or the bacteria culture used to turn the cider into vinegar. Some claim that vinegar containing the mother has additional health benefits.
One of my favorite ways to use apple cider vinegar is in salad dressings. It has a slightly sweeter and fruitier taste than regular white vinegar and it complements dressings that contain honey or other sweeteners. Plus, it’s delicious!
- You can use any kind of greens for this salad. I happened to have romaine in my vegetable crisper, so that’s what I used. This arugula or baby kale salad would be delicious topped with fried goat cheese.
- It’s pretty hard to resist eating these fried goat cheese rounds as you cook them. If you find that they don’t make it onto their intended salad plates, pick up the 11 oz size log at Costco and make a larger quantity. You will be glad you did.
- You might have already noticed other than the fried cheese and salad dressing, this salad is pretty simple because I like it that way. But you are an adult, so add whatever else you want.
- 5 cups romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup multi-color cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Fried Goat Cheese:
- 4 oz log of plain or herbed goat cheese
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- ⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ¼ cup chopped shallots
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Prep the salad by arranging the lettuce and tomatoes on a platter or individual serving plates. Set aside.
- Make the fried goat cheese by cutting the log into 6 equal-size slices. A clean length of dental floss is a good slicer for this soft cheese.
- Dip each piece in the beaten egg, then dredge in the panko. Press the panko lightly to adhere on all sides. Place the encrusted slices on a wire rack to hang out while you heat the pan.
- Place a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil mixture is hot, throw in the butter and olive oil.
- Once the butter melts, place the goat cheese rounds into the pan and panfry until toasty brown on both sides, around 3 or 4 minutes.
- Place the fried goat cheese on top of the prepped salad.
- Make the dressing by combining the shallots, vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper in a jar with a screw top lid. Secure the lid and shake the jar until the dressing emulsifies. Pour some of the dressing on the salad and serve.
Keywords: salad with fried goat cheese