Friday, 4 June 2010

Salad days

Summer has finally arrived in the UK – everything is in full bloom and I cannot wait to get cooking with all the bountiful seasonal produce.

This time of year is all about quick, light meals, so that we can make the most of the sunshine and spend more time outside. I love cooking, but this is the one time of the year that I would rather be in and out of the kitchen quickly, and enjoying the fruits of my labour alfresco.

I am rather partial to cheese, and as I have mentioned in previous posts, I love goat’s cheese. So, last weekend, when I wanted to make the most of the sporadic sunshine, it became the perfect basis for a quick yet satisfying meal.

A goat’s cheese salad sings summer to me – it is super speedy but also filling, perfect for this time of year. However, rather than crumbling soft goat’s cheese, I decided to dust a round of goat’s cheese with cornflour, and fry it until it was crisp and golden on the outside and oozing and gooey in the middle. I probably should not admit this, but one of the best goat's cheese salads I have had when eating out was at Bar ha ha, years ago, and so I decided to recreate it.

Some wonderful looking salad leaves arrived in this week’s Riverford box, so I made a herby, garlicky dressing for them, then topped them with sunblush tomatoes.

Crowned with the fried goat’s cheese, it was perfection. So simple, yet so good. Best enjoyed with a glass of something cold, sitting outside with a beautiful view.

Goat’s cheese salad
Serves 2

2 rounds of goat’s cheese
Cornflour, enough to coat
Oil, for frying
Salad leaves
Couple of handfuls of sunblush tomatoes
Small handful each of flatleaf parsley, basil and coriander, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp good-quality olive oil
Half a garlic clove, finely sliced or chopped
Caramelised red onion chutney, to serve

1) Put some cornflour in a small bowl and lay the goat’s cheese in it, moving around to coat.

2) Make the dressing by mixing together the herbs and garlic in a small bowl, then add the oil to make a thick dressing/sauce.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat, and put in the floured goat’s cheesewhen the oil is sizzling. Fry for 2 minutes or so on each side until the outside is golden (be careful it doesn’t burn) and the cheese is just starting to ooze out.

4) Serve on the bed of salad leaves, drizzle with some leftover dressing, and eat immediately,with onion chutney on the side.