Wine Night: Arugula Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette + Goat Cheese Medallions

Arugula Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette + Goat Cheese Medallions 4

Such a long name for a recipe.  But I wanted to make sure the best components are mentioned in the title.  The salad itself isn’t much of a recipe, but it’s more of a vehicle to show you how to make goat cheese medallions and honey lemon vinaigrette.  You can put them to use in any way you want, but a simple salad is a nice backdrop to put the big flavors front and center.

I came up with this salad for a wine tasting party at my girlfriend’s house.  I had never done a tasting before, so I looked up which flavors went best with the wine I chose, Sauvignon Blanc.  I like Sauvignon Blanc because it’s light, but dry.  It’s a zesty wine that goes well with citrus, seafood, and salty cheese. 

I’ve been making this lemon vinaigrette for a long time and only modified it slightly for this recipe.  It’s a pretty standard recipe, and you can use the proportions to make any vinaigrette.  You can use any citrus juice (or even pineapple), or you can use vinegar, or a mix of both.  Simple!

I’d always wanted to do goat cheese medallions ever since my days at Carrabba’s.  My favorite salad there comes with a hazelnut-crusted medallion, and it is to die for.  I was worried about the cheese becoming too soft when I was working with it or oozing out while frying.  But the trick is to work with it in stages and chill it in between.  The other trick is to use unwaxed dental floss to cut the goat cheese.  If you try to cut it with a knife, it will make quite a mess.

Now for the recipes.

Arugula Salad

Total Time:  15 minutes

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Serves:  4

Ingredients

½ cup pecans

1 pear

1 shallot

4 cups arugula

5 leaves of fresh torn basil

1/3 cup Honey Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

4 Goat Cheese Medallions (recipe follows)

  1. Toast the pecans on a dry pan in a toaster oven for about 3-5 minutes.  Watch them closely so they don’t burn.  It really doesn’t take long at all.
  2. Slice the pear thinly. Slice the shallot thinly.
  3. In a large salad bowl, toss the pecans, shallot, arugula, and basil with the vinaigrette.
  4. Arrange the pears around the top and place the goat cheese medallions in the center.

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Total Time:  5 minutes

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Serves: 8

Ingredients

Zest and juice of 4 lemons

½ finely minced shallot

2 tablespoons of honey

1 teaspoon of white pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. Add all ingredients to a mason jar, and shake vigorously.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Goat Cheese Medallions

Total Time:  2 hours (hands on time 30 minutes)

Difficulty Level:  Intermediate

Serves:  10

Ingredients

1-10 ounce log of very cold goat cheese

1 egg

¾ cup panko bread crumbs

Olive oil, for frying

  1. Using unwaxed dental floss, cut the very cold goat cheese log into ¼ inch medallions.
  2. In one shallow dish, beat the egg. In another dish, pour the panko bread crumbs.  Acting as if you’re breading anything else for frying, first put each medallion in the egg, gently rotating it to evenly coat.  Repeat in the panko bread crumbs.
  3. Place the prepared medallions on a silicon-lined baking sheet. Chill for at least one hour.
  4. After chilling, fill a medium sized pan 1/2 inch high with olive oil. Bring up to medium high heat before adding the goat cheese.  You can test the heat by adding a bit of breadcrumbs and see if they immediate start to sizzle and fry.
  5. In batches, fry the very cold medallions on each side until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. But every stove is different so please watch carefully!
  6. When they’re done, transfer them to a paper towel-lined dish, and serve warm.

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