This is a beautiful special occasion salad, and our special occasion was that it was Wednesday. I think there is a certain irony to a salad that includes “fried” and “candied” in the title, and I couldn’t resist it. I used beets and Boston lettuce from this week’s CSA share. Thanks to sophistimom for the great recipe, which I adapted a only a little bit.
For the beets:
- 2 beets, scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the candied walnuts:
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
For the fried goat cheese:
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Oil for frying
Greens and Dressing:
- 1 head Boston Bibb lettuce (0r any other greens)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the beets:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Top with a piece of parchment paper. Place beets on parchment paper, drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap paper and aluminum foil around the beets and bake for 60-90 minutes, or until beets are tender. Let cool completely. Then, cut into 1/4 inch slices and divide each slice into fourths. Meanwhile, lower the oven to 325 and get going with the walnuts:
Prepare the Candied Walnuts:
- Mix together the walnuts and maple syrup until evenly coated. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Make a single layer with the walnuts, and heat for 20-25 minutes, flipping once during cooking.
- Allow to cool, and then roughly chop the walnuts.
Prepare the Fried Goat Cheese: (NOTE: You will want the cheese to be warm, so you can compile the whole salad, and save the second step below for last.)
- Mix cheese with lemon zest, parmesan, thyme, and salt and pepper until well blended. Roll cheese mixture into quarter-sized patties. Freeze for about 20 minutes. Roll in egg, and coat with Panko.
- Heat oil in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat. When you put the cheese in the saucepan it should start bubbling immediately. Flip them after 10-15 seconds, and cook on the other side for 10-15 seconds. The cheese should be golden brown.
Prepare the greens and vinaigrette:
- Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with the greens.
Compile the Salad:
- Layer the greens and vinaigrette, followed by the beets, walnuts and then goat cheese. Enjoy!