By Cat, Sept 2014 (Photo right: cheese by S. Riedesel, photo by Cat)
I’m always on the lookout for a good salad that includes cheese and other interesting ingredients. I have several friends who make goat cheese from their goat milk, so have a source of excellent cheese. I’m also falling in love with grapes, something I always thought I should avoid because of my insulin resistance, but now know they actually help with reducing the impact of that disorder. Lastly, I don’t have many recipes for hazelnuts, so am glad for this. However, if hazelnuts are not available, I think pecans or walnuts would also be good with this combination.
It might be hard to find local arugula in the cold seasons, but radicchio, like cabbage is a cool-season vegetable.
Bistro Salad with Fried Goat Cheese, Grapes & Hazelnuts
This salad is adapted from a recipe on Fine Cooking.com (1).
The original recipe calls for toasted, skinned hazelnuts, but I prefer to soak nuts overnight before toasting, to maximize their nutritional value. I usually soak a larger batch (so I can use them over time), then dry them in the oven on lowest setting, or toast them in a dry cast iron skillet.When cooled, I transfer them to a mason jar and store in a cool place or my fridge. See Soaking Nuts & Seeds and Toasting Nuts & Seeds for details. See also Crispy Pine Nuts, as this method applies to all nuts.
The original serves 4, but I’ve adapted this to serve 2.
Ingredients, Equipment & Method:
Fried goat cheese
- 4 oz. fresh goat cheese
- ½ cup plain panko
- 2 tsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ tsp. dry mustard (or freshly ground from mustard seeds)
- Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small egg, or ½ larger egg
- ½ cup coconut oil or lard
- 2 small bowls
- cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet
- paper towel
- Slice goat cheese into two 2-oz discs, then shape into 2 ½” cakes. Freeze in single layer until firm, 10 – 15 minutes.
- Combine breading ingredients: panko, parsley, dry mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl; combine egg with ½ Tbsp filtered water in another small bowl.
- Dip cheese into egg mixture, then breading and set each aside.
- Heat the oil/lard in a heavy-bottomed skillet until shimmering hot.
- Add breaded goat cheese cakes and fry in the hot fat, on both sides, until golden brown, 3 – 4 minutes total. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel.
- Soaked and Toasted, skinned hazelnuts, enough to make 2 Tbsp chopped
- ¼ small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ oz. baby arugula (about 1 ½ cups)
- 6 oz. seedless red grapes, halved (about 1 cup)
- If you are in a pinch for time, you can use hazelnuts that have not been soaked, but I highly recommend soaking and toasting them yourself to maximize the nutritional value.
- Just before serving: wash & rinse the arugula, then pat dry with towels. Cut grapes in half to make 1 cup.
- 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
- ½ – 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp roasted hazelnut or walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
- small bowl with sides
- whisk or immersion blender (hand-held stick blender)
- Place vinegar, maple syrup, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a small bowl or blender and whisk to combine.
- Slowly add the nut or olive oil, whisking or blending constantly until emulsified.
- Toss radicchio, arugula, and grapes in a large bowl with enough dressing to lightly coat.
- Divide the salad among 4 plates, top each with a goat cheese cake, sprinkle with the hazelnuts, and drizzle with more of the dressing.
- Fine Cooking recipe: finecooking.com/recipes/fried-goat-cheese-salad-grapes-hazelnuts.aspx