Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Warm Goat Cheese Salad

Friday, November 12, 2010

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

I'm that crazy person that falls in love with a dish, and wants it again and again until I get tired and bored of it. I'm also that crazy and methodical person that will take the time and figure out the dish and attempt to make it at home. I will not be that thriftless person that dines out for that one dish everytime, scratch that - maybe on rare occasions I'll dine out for that one great awesome dish every.single.time. Recently I had a girls day out and had lunch at Eat Chow and I fell madly in love with this Warm Goat Cheese salad. Take a minute and read the Menu Description and don't drool.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad - Panko and Almond Crusted Goat Cheese, Sweet Red Wine Gastrique, Basil Oil, and Arugala.

Oh.Em.Gee. Totally smacktastic and wonderful. The little balls of goat cheese deep fried with panko and almonds gave a nice sweet crunch. The sweet red wine reduction and peppery arugula paired perfectly together. With one bite, you get the creaminess and tanginess from the goat cheese, and make sure to add a little bit of the sweet red wine reduction and a little bit of the peppery salad. It's like sweet and creamy and not too tangy. I loved all the elements of this salad and wanted to recreate it at home. The key ingredient in this dish is the red wine gastrique - it is a sweet and sour sauce that truly adds an extra depth of flavor to the dish. Here's my take on it, and I definitely fell in love all over again. Enjoy!
Warm Goat Cheese Salad
Original Krystal recipe
Inspired from Eat Chow
1 8-ounce log plain goat cheese, well-chilled
1 cup honey panko crumbs
1/2 cup almond meal or almonds (pulsed in food processor)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Arugula or mixed greens
1/4 cup red onions, thinly sliced
Sweet Red Wine Gastrique:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup table red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vingear
Basil Oil:
1 cup olive oil
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Prepare the Gastrique - In a small pot, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil for at least 5 minutes. In another small pot, bring wine and vinegar to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure the vinegar mixture looks syrupy. Combine the sugar syrup and wine mixture and stir to combine. Cool completely and place in a container. Set aside.

Prepare the Basil oil - In a blender, combine the basil leaves and olive oil and mix until the leaves are finely chopped. Pour mixture into a small pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cool the oil and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer with cheesecloth or coffee filters. Gently press any basil leftover to release the remaining oil and place in a container. Set aside.

In a large pan, add the almond crumbs, garlic powder and panko mixture. Mix to combine.

Slice the goat cheese into 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. (The easiest way to slice goat cheese is to use a length of dental floss.) I ended up breaking it into small pieces and rolling them into balls. Drizzle each slice with olive oil until is completed covered, then roll the goat cheese ball into the panko and almond crumbs mixture, make sure the cheese is thoroughly coated. Once the balls are coated with the panko mixture - it's easier to roll them into the balls. Reshape if needed. Place the balls on a plate and chill them for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the goat cheese balls on a greased baking pan and let it bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until warmed through and soft when you press gently in the center. Remove from oven and use a spatula to carefully remove goat cheese balls from the pan.

Prepare the salad - carefully dress the arugula with the basil oil. Place the baked goat cheese balls on the plate and garnish with red onions and drizzle a bit of the sweet red wine gastrique on top.

Review: Heaven in a bite. I was lucky enough to find almond meal available at Trader Joe's but you can easily omit it and only use sliced almonds. Comparing the two versions, I think I have a slight homemade edge and not as fancy as Eat Chow's. I forgot to add the sliced tomatoes and sliced almonds on top for garnish. This also makes a great appetizer or main entree. I enjoyed it with a side of crusty sourdough bread and a nice glass of red wine. Simply delicious.

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