Few weeks ago, I went to the Union Square Greenmarket and got these greens called mâche, which is mild, sweet, and slightly nutty. They are also known as corn salad, and if you know me, anything with corn in it? I’m sold. On the description, it said that mache can be served with goat cheese in a salad, so that’s exactly what I did. Went straight to the stall selling handcrafted cheeses from an upstate dairy farm, picked up a log of goat cheese, and voila, almond-crusted fried goat cheese!
The fried goat cheese is really the cornerstone of this plate. The outside is crispy and nutty, and the center…warm, melty, creamy. I love the pairing of goat cheese and honey, so I picked a honey goat cheese. And because honey goes so well with lavender, I added some herbs de Provence to the coating mixture for a special touch.
You can serve this as an appetizer to an elegant meal, or you can nestle the fried cheese rounds in salad greens (tossed with a light vinaigrette if you prefer) and you have yourself a delicious lunch. Also, keep this recipe in mind for all those summer nights of alfresco dinners when you just want to have a small meal, nosh on cured meats and fried cheese, and sip vino. Have plenty of vino ready. Enjoy!
Almond-Crusted Fried Goat Cheese
(Makes about 8 cheese rounds)
11 oz. goat cheese log, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
Olive oil, for frying
In a shallow dish, mix together panko, almond meal, herbs, and salt. Dip the cheese rounds in egg and coat both sides with the panko mixture.
In stainless steel pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cheese rounds and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip to the other side and cook for about 1 minute more. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the cheese rounds to a paper-towel lined plate. Serve warm.
*You can place the log in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up so it’s easier to slice.
*If you like a thicker breadcrumb coating, you can dredge the cheese rounds (coated once) into the egg and breadcrumbs again. I do this for mozzarella sticks, and I find that the double coating can be fragile, so I always let it set up a bit in the freezer before frying.