Deep. Fried. Cheese. Mmmmm, what’s not to love? Yes, it may be the savoury equivalent of a deep fried Mars Bar, but who cares? Not me for one.
This recipe is a mash up between the fried Monte Enebro goats cheese served at Tapas Brindisa at London’s Borough Market and a baked goats cheese dish I had recently at a cool little tapas bar (Mó de Cima) in the relatively undiscovered town of Fuseta in Portugal’s Algarve.
It looks quite cheffy but is actually a doddle to make, so would be good for a dinner party starter or with a salad for lunch with the girls (or the guys for that matter)… or just when you need cheering up, which I suspect we all do this week.
Deep fried goats cheese with beetroot crisps, pickled pear, walnuts and honey
- 125g goats cheese (I used a round of chevre but Monte Enebro is delicious if you can find it), sliced into two
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- oil for frying
- 1 raw beetroot, peeled and sliced as thin as you can (use a mandolin if you have one)
- 1 pear, peeled and sliced into 1mm thick rounds
- 3 tsp cider vinegar
- 2 tsp runny honey
- 1 tsp orange blossom water (optional)
- 2 tbsp water
- couple of sprigs of thyme
- small handful of good quality walnuts, broken into pieces
- Sourdough or rye bread
- Combine the vinegar, honey, orange blossom water, water, a pinch of salt and a sprig of thyme in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Poach the pear slices in the pickling liquid until softened but not mushy – a few minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pears to cool in the liquid.
- In a medium saucepan, heat about 2cm of oil over a medium/high heat. Test for readiness by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil – if bubbles appear around it, you’re good to go.
- Fry the slices of beetroot until crisp (in batches if necessary), remove and drain on kitchen towel and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Dip the pieces of goats cheese first in the flour and then in the egg, and using the same oil, deep fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown, one at a time if necessary. Remove and drain on kitchen towel.
- Cut your bread into roughly the same shape and size as your cheese and toast or griddle, then brush on one side some of the pickling liquid. Pop the goats cheese on top and arrange on a plate with some beetroot crisps and slices of pear. Scatter over some walnut pieces and a few thyme leaves.
- Bring the remaining pickling liquid to the boil and reduce to a loose syrup, then drizzle this over the goats cheese and around the plate.