While coming off as extra fancy, this salad actually comes together rather quickly. The trickiest part is getting the goat cheese fried just right. You want the crust to be a beautiful golden brown and the inside soft, but still holding its shape. For this we found that placing the goat cheese in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes first allows it to be firm enough, not only to cut but also to bread and fry if done quickly.
Once the goat cheese was fried, we served it over a bed of mixed baby greens sprinkled with bacon and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. The tanginess of the goat cheese is balanced by the sweetness of the balsamic and the salty bacon. The bed of greens added a freshness that created a perfectly balanced dish that would be a great asset to nearly any menu.
Of course, this salad would also be delicious served with some sliced almonds, candied walnuts, or fresh fruit such as figs if you prefer to leave off the bacon. In fact, you could even combine one of our other favorite salads and whip up some bacon wrapped pears for a real treat!
While we chose to go with a balsamic glaze, feel free to add any dressing you desire -- though a vinaigrette is most suited to balance the flavors and textures of the creamy goat cheese. A raspberry or lemon Dijon vinaigrette would also be lovely.
While almost everything for this dish can be prepared ahead, we suggest frying the goat cheese just before serving so that the crust doesn’t soften too much. The crisp crust and creamy inside is a dreamy combination you do not want your guests to miss out on. This is also why we suggest serving it early in the party menu!
Make It a Menu
Consider serving this salad following a simple root vegetable soup that is perfect for this time of year. Follow it up with a trio of easy tea sandwiches. These could be anything you choose, but we suggest something toasted, something fruity, and something unique to round out the meal.
For dessert, try serving a slice of glazed lemon poppy seed bread. The sweetness of a lemony tea bread is a great pairing for the goat cheese and bacon in the salad.
When choosing teas to pair with this menu, we absolutely suggest trying our Holiday Embrace Herbal Tea with its notes of spice blended with cranberry and orange. For something more decadent, try our Housewarming Black Tea with its creamy vanilla flavor reminiscent of creme brûlée.
Fried Goat Cheese Salad with Bacon & Balsamic
- 11-ounce goat cheese log
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- Vegetable oil, as needed (for pan frying)
- 4 cups mixed baby lettuce
- 1/4 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Balsamic dressing or glaze for serving
Freeze the goat cheese log for 15 minutes to firm before cutting.
Combine breadcrumbs and salt in a small bowl.
Beat egg in a separate bowl with a teaspoon of water.
Remove the cheese from the freezer. Using a small, sharp knife, slice the goat cheese into roughly 1/2-inch thick rounds. Wipe the knife clean in between cuts. (You may need to reshape the round to create a nice smooth circle if it does not cut well.) Return to the freezer for 10 minutes if the log begins to mush until all the rounds are cut.
In a small frying pan, add enough oil to reach halfway up the goat cheese (about 1/4-inch deep). Heat the pan over medium-high heat, about 375°F.
Dip the cheese in the breadcrumb mixture, then egg, and then breadcrumb mixture again, ensuring all sides are coated well.
Immediately place the rounds in the hot oil. (May refrigerate on parchment paper up to one hour if not frying immediately.)
Carefully place the cheese into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 30 to 45 seconds. Flip over with a spatula and fry the other side until golden brown (another 30 to 45 seconds).
Remove the fried cheese to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Serve warm on a bed of mixed baby lettuce with crumbled bacon on top and balsamic on the side.