|Fried Goat Cheese Arugula Salad with Raspberry-Red Wine Vinaigrette, Pears, & Candied Walnuts|
For the Candied Walnuts:
¾C Walnuts, Roughly Chopped
Pinch of Salt, Cinnamon, & Cayenne
For the Raspberry-Red Wine Vinaigrette:
¼C Olive Oil
¼C Red Wine Vinegar
½t Dijon Mustard
1C Raspberry Puree (strained of seeds)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
For the Fried Goat Cheese:
4oz Log of Goat Cheese, Chilled & Cut into Medallions
¼C AP Flour
1 Egg, Beaten
½C Italian Panko Breadcrumbs
Salt, For Sprinkling
For the Salad:
Prepared Candied Walnuts
Prepared Raspberry-Red Wine Vinaigrette
Fried Goat Cheese Medallions
1 Bosc Pear, Cut into Bite-Size Cubes
Directions:1. To Candy the Walnuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes until just toasted. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Meanwhile, pour the sugar into a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon while the sugar melts. Keep stirring until the color turns a medium amber color. Once that color is reached, add in the walnuts to the pan and quickly stir to coat. As soon as they are coated, spread them onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Let them cool completely before adding them to the salad.
2. To Make the Raspberry-Red Wine Vinaigrette: In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients, except for the oil, and blend until smooth. Drizzle in the oil slowly, while blending, until the dressing is emulsified. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. To Make the Fried Goat Cheese: Set up a battering station. I use 3 pie tins. For the first station, I mix the flour. For the second station, I whisk together the eggs and milk. For the third station, use the Italian Panko breadcrumbs. Now, place the medallions of chilled goat cheese into the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, and finally the panko (making sure they are completely covered). Put the breaded slices on a tin foil-lined baking sheet with a cooling rack on top, and then put the pan into the refrigerator and let the sticks rest for about 15-30 minutes. In a medium sauté pan, heat about 2 inches of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil has heated, fry the goat cheese medallions for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden-brown & crispy (without over-melting the cheese). Place them onto a baking sheet & sprinkle with salt. Keep them warm in the oven while you fry the remaining medallions.
4. To Assemble the Salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss the arugula, candied walnuts, and pears in the raspberry-red wine vinaigrette until thoroughly coated. Place the tossed salad into serving bowls and garnish with the warm, crispy goat cheese medallions. Serve immediately.