God’s greatest gift to salad? Fried goat cheese. Sure, this may sound dramatic. But not to those who have had fried goat cheese. Believe me – your first time eating fried goat cheese is nothing short of a religious experience. The crispy golden panko crust gives way to a warm, creamy, tangy center that I love to smear onto the lettuce and other veggies so that there’s goat cheese in every bite. I absolutely love fried goat cheese, and it’s never been better than in this Fried Goat Cheese & Cherry Salad with Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette.
Fried goat cheese looks a little fancy, and you’ll definitely see it on restaurant menus. But it’s actually very easy to make at home. Here’s how you do it:
How to make Fried Goat Cheese
Do yourself a favor and pop your goat cheese into the freezer for about 30 minutes before you’re ready to use it. It’s going to make slicing it a million times easier. But don’t freeze it for too long, or it will crumble when you try to slice it. I like to put the goat cheese in the freezer, then assemble the entire salad, get everything set up on the counter for frying, and then take the goat cheese out of the freezer.
To set things up for frying, you’ll need a bowl of beaten egg, a bowl of panko bread crumbs and a skillet that is coated with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. Be gentle with the goat cheese slices when you dip them into the egg, then into the panko, then the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, you’ll gently flip them with a spatula. Try to use the thinnest spatula you have – metal ones work the best.
What is in this Fried Goat Cheese & Cherry Salad with Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette?
Fried goat cheese is best paired with something a little sweet, like ripe cherries. If you have a cherry pitter, break that bad boy out for this salad. I think the best gift my mother-in-law ever gave me was a cherry pitter! Sure, it’s one of those specialty tools that you’ll only use a few times a year, but think of it this way – it also pits olives. And olives are an all year round sort of thing. So if you like cherries and olives and you like making life easy, and you have 13 bucks, go grab yourself a cherry pitter.
Then, a little bit of salty crunch from pistachios and some good texture from cucumber. You can slice your cucumbers any way you want. I just think making ribbons is pretty. All you need is a vegetable peeler, so why not?
The dressing is a simple vinaigrette amped up with some roasted shallots. Start your shallots roasting at the same time you put the goat cheese in the freezer – when you first start prepping. Roasting the shallots will caramelize them a little, bringing out a bit of natural sweetness. Then, process them in a blender with the basics of vinaigrette – quality oil and vinegar, plus a little Dijon mustard and honey. Easy peasy.
Be sure to wait to dress the salad until just before you put the goat cheese on top. You don’t want your beautiful veggies to wilt prematurely. The recipe for this Fried Goat Cheese & Cherry Salad with Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette will generously provide two entree-sized salads or four side salads. And if you love entree salads like I do, check out the Italian Antipasti Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing or the Layered Southwestern Salad with Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing.
Any way you divvy it up, I hope you enjoy it!
Fried Goat Cheese & Cherry Salad with Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette
- 5 oz spring mix
- 10 oz goat cheese log
- 1 cucumber
- 1 1/2 cups cherries pitted
- 1 cup pistachios salted, shelled
- 2 shallots
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the shallots and place them on a small baking sheet. At the same time, put the goat cheese into the freezer. Roast the shallots for 20 minutes.
- Remove shallots from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Give them a rough chop and put them into a food processor or blender. Add the oil, vinegar, Dijon and honey and process until smooth. Set aside.
- Run a vegetable peeler lengthwise down the cucumber to make ribbons. Arrange the spring mix in a large bowl (or divide it among 2-4 individual serving bowls) and top with cucumber ribbons, pistachios and pitted cherries.
- Coat a large skillet with 1/4 inch of extra virgin olive oil set to medium heat.
- Remove goat cheese from freezer. Carefully slice it into 1/2 inch rounds. Dip each round in the beaten egg, then the panko bread crumbs. Place the rounds into the hot oil and cook on each side, carefully flipping, until both sides are golden brown. Remove onto a paper towel-lined plate. Arrange over top the salad and dress with the vinaigrette.