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.
Perfect crispy fried goat cheese salad with sweet figs, roasted beets and orange poppy seed vinaigrette.
- 2 medium beets
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Salt and pepper, as needed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ounce goat cheese log
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon chopped thyme
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 egg beaten
- ¼ cup flour
- Vegetable oil, as needed (for pan frying)
- 8 figs (black or green), quartered into wedges
- 2 cups of arugula, washed and dried
- 1 orange, segmented
- 3 tablespoons vinegar (champagne or raspberry)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice (squeeze from segmented orange pulp)
- 8 teaspoons grape seed oil
- 4 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- Salt and pepper, as needed
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Trim the stems and roots of the beets and scrub beet well under running water, then dry.
- In a bowl, toss the beets in the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Put 1 piece of aluminum foil large enough to enclose the 2 beets on a work surface.
- Place 1 tablespoon of butter in the center of the piece of foil. Place the beets in the center of the foil. Fold over the sides, and crimp to create an enclosed packet.
- Put the packet on a baking sheet and bake until the beets are tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Allow the beets to cool.
- Remove the skins of the cool beets (can be removed by wiping with a paper towel).
- Cut the beets into ½” wide wedges, and place in a bowl. Reserve.
- Freeze the goat cheese log for 15 minutes to firm log before cutting.
- Combine panko, parsley, thyme, garlic powder, black pepper and salt in a small bowl.
- Beat egg in a separate bowl, reserve.
- Place flour in a separate bowl, reserve.
- Remove the cheese from the freezer. Using a sharp small knife, slice the goat cheese into ½” rounds. Wipe the knife clean in between cuts. Reshape the round if needed to create a nice smooth circle.
- Dip the cheese in the flour and coat both sides.
- Dip the floured cheese into the egg and coat both sides.
- Dip the cheese in the panko mixture and coat both sides.
- Place the breaded cheese rounds on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 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 a cook until golden brown (this 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.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the vinegar and juice. Slowly whisk in the grape seed oil, then the canola oil, until the oil is emulsified with the vinegar mixture. Whisk in the poppy seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve.
- In a medium sized bowl, toss the 2 cups of arugula with a small amount of the dressing until lightly coated.
- Add the beets to the remaining dressing, and toss. The natural red pigments from the beets will turn your dressing a beautiful magenta color.
- 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.