Wednesday, December 23, 2009

roasted pepper and fennel salad with warm goat cheese cakes

You know what's upsetting? The fact that I'm a blogger, and consider myself pretty technically savvy, and yet I cannot figure out (after troubleshooting, googling, nagging my sister for help) how to upload the video I made, making the recipe below, FOR, THE, LIFE OF ME. So after much anger, stress, and disappointment, it is with a defeatist attitude I present to you, the following recipe through pictures and words.

But I'll make sure they're really good words at that.

So the people over at Ian's Natural Foods were so kind as to send me a package of their Panko Breadcrumbs*. They contacted me after I posted an ode to the Japanese-style breadcrumbs a month or two back and asked if I'd like to try their line of organic products? Why, yes! I'd love to.

A few days later they arrived at my desk.

Now, I think it's obvious by now, that I'm not a huge "breading" fan. Just don't see the need typically. I'd rather have my chicken and the like sans a breaded crust. But when it comes to warm goat cheese salads, often there's no way around that quintessential crispy coating. And panko, my friends, is the hands down winner.

After the blizzard we had last weekend, I found myself without much of anything useful in my refrigerator. I was stripped of fresh produce and I couldn't bare to order in delivery (again. eek!). The grocery store was much too far of a walk for a snow boot-less me so I made the half block trek to the produce bodega and wine store. Hey, a girl's gotta keep warm.

Red bell pepper, a fennel bulb, red onion, a bunch of arugula, and a mini boucheron of goat cheese. Oh, and a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, and I ran back up my five flights of stairs as quickly as I could.

Approximately five minutes later, once I'd caught my breath, I started slicing up the vegetables and tossed them into a roasting pan with a healthy drizzle of balsamic, olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Into a 400F oven they went for about 30 minutes or so.
I then took slices of the goat cheese and formed them into petite cakes, about the size of a...oh, let's say an oreo. I slipped them into an egg white wash and then straight into the panko. Place them on a plate and into the fridge for at least 10 minutes to firm up.

Remove the roasted veggies from the oven and allow them to cool. In the meantime, whip up some balsamic vinaigrette and rinse the arugula off. Once the veggies are cool enough to handle, toss them into the vinaigrette with a handful of golden raisins (Ok, I know this sounds odd. But trust me. The salty, sweet, savory thang that'll be going on in this bowl will make you smile. Promise).

In a small non stick skillet over medium high heat, add about a 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil and start frying the little goat cheese cakes up until they're golden brown on both sides. No longer.

To plate, put a handful of arugula on the plate followed by a generous spoonful of the vinaigrette soaked vegetables and two or three goat cheese cakes, depending on your guest.

Comfy, cozy, and accidentally vegetarian, I have a feeling this warm salad will become a winter go to. Grocery store free.

*Ian's Panko Breadcrumbs were genergously provided by the company. To find out where to buy, please visit their website

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