Besh's Fried Goat Cheese and Frisée Salad
- SERVINGS: 6
- One 11- to 12-ounce log of goat cheese, chilled
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon minced rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon walnut oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 small plums, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 small head frisée, large leaves torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons minced oil-cured black olives
- 6 thin slices country ham or prosciutto (about 4 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- Cut the goat cheese into 6 equal rounds and gently shape each piece into a 2 1/2-inch medallion. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic with 1/2 teaspoon of the rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the goat cheese with the garlic mixture.
- Put the flour, egg and bread crumbs into 3 separate shallow bowls. Dredge the goat-cheese medallions in the flour, then dip in the egg and coat with the bread crumbs. Transfer the breaded medallions onto a platter lined with wax paper and refrigerate until chilled.
- In a small bowl, whisk 2 teaspoons of the vinegar with the honey until dissolved. Whisk in the walnut oil and season with salt and pepper.
- In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic and 1/4 teaspoon rosemary. Add the sugar and stir over moderately high heat until it dissolves. Add the plums and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the plum mixture to a blender along with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the water and blend until smooth. Return the plum sauce to the saucepan and keep warm.
- In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Add the goat-cheese medallions and cook over moderately high heat until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side.
- In a large bowl, toss the frisée with the walnut vinaigrette and olives and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the plum sauce onto 6 plates. Set 1 goat-cheese medallion in the center of each plate and arrange a slice of the country ham alongside with a little of the frisée. Sprinkle with the chives and serve immediately.
The goat cheese and olives suggest Sauvignon Blanc; the plum sauce says fruity West Coast bottlings, rather than austere French ones. Try one from California or Washington State.