Perfect crispy fried goat cheese salad with sweet figs, roasted beets and orange poppy seed vinaigrette.
When figs make their appearance at the farmer’s market, I always look forward to eating them whole, or combining them with my two other favorite fall ingredients. Beets and goat cheese. For this recipe, I decided to create a fun and colorful salad to celebrate the transition of seasons. My creation is a crispy fried goat cheese salad with sweet figs, roasted beets, and orange poppy seed vinaigrette.
Fried Goat Cheese
Goat cheese is soft and creamy in texture however it does not melt quickly when fried. Goat cheese is perfect for breading then frying. To create a crunchy exterior, a creamy and tangy interior, I used Chevre goat cheese from Trader Joe’s. To start I placed the goat cheese log in the freezer for about 15 minutes before cutting. This makes it easier to slice and handle.
To make the breading ingredients, combine the panko, thyme, parsley, garlic powder, black pepper and salt.
The goat cheese was first dipped in flour and then egg.
The final coat was the herb panko breadcrumb mixture. You can refrigerate these for up to one hour if not frying immediately.
In a small frying pan add enough oil to reach halfway up the goat cheese (about ¼” deep). Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Carefully place the cheese into the pan and cook until golden brown (the cheese cooks very quickly, so check every few seconds). Flip the cheese over with a spatula and fry the other side until golden brown.
Drain the fried cheese on a paper towel to remove any excess oil. The fried goat cheese holds very well and stays crisp for over an hour if you need to prepare these ahead of time.
One of my favorite techniques that I learned in culinary school is how to segment oranges. Start by cutting off the ends on both sides of the orange to give you a flat base. Run your knife down the curved sides of the orange, then rotate and continue to cut until most of the skin and pith is removed. The blade should just slide down the sides of the flesh if your knife is sharp.
Cut out segments from the oranges. With the remaining pulp after the segments have been removed, squeeze the juice out and reserve for the orange poppy seed dressing.
I found this excellent orange muscat champagne vinegar from Trader Joe’s which compliments and adds a nice sweet and light pungency to any citrus based salad dressings.
The natural red pigments from the beets will turn your dressing a beautiful magenta color. When properly cooked, beets are sweet, tender and earthy, a perfect compliment for the tang and creaminess of goat cheese.
To plate the salad, place 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing in the center of a salad plate. Alternate pieces of fig, beat and orange segments in a flower shape on the plate. Place a small handful of dressed arugula (about ¼ to ½ cup) on top of the fig, beet, and oranges. Place the fried goat cheese on top of the arugula.
This fried goat cheese salad recipe is an easy way to highlight the natural flavors of perfectly ripened figs, caracara oranges and sweet and tender beats. The fried goat cheese provides a crispy texture to contrast the soft fruits and vegetables. The arugula adds a spiciness to the dish, which compliments the sweet and acidic flavors of the dressing. The fried goat cheese is perfect on its own served as an appetizer, enjoy!