Last Saturday night, Joe and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in the city. It’s a neighborhood kind of joint, with simple but delicious food and a warm atmosphere. Inevitably, every time we go, we order basically the same thing: a salad of butter lettuce and fried goat cheese croquettes, to start, and then some kind of pasta after. The food was so good (per usual) that come Sunday night — yes, the very next day — we were craving the exact same meal…but this time, I challenged myself to make it at home. I have to say, we came very, very close (Joe, being the good hubs that he is, said it was better).
The first course? Why, salad with fried goat cheese, of course. These little croquettes are the perfect thing to top any salad, or serve as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvres. The best part is that they’re a total fake out piece — so incredibly simple to make, and frying them takes just a couple of minutes, but they seem so fancy!
Next week I’ll share the recipe for the incredible pasta dish I made to follow the salad, but for now, here’s how to make yourself some crispy fried goat cheese croquettes:
Fried Herbed Goat Cheese Croquettes
Makes 5 croquettes
4 oz goat cheese log (can choose plain, herbed, whatever you prefer)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp dried herbs (I used herbes d’provence, and also sprinkled in 1 sprig of minced fresh rosemary, though this is optional. Choose whatever herbs are your fave.)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
–extra virgin olive oil
Place the goat cheese in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, so that it is very firm but not frozen. While the goat cheese is hardening, crack the egg into a bowl and beat with a fork. In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs, herbs, garlic powder, and seasoning. Mix well.
Remove the goat cheese from the wrapper. Using a serrated knife, cut it into approximately 1/2 inch pieces. You should end up with 5 discs, total.
In an 8″ non-stick frying pan, pour in enough olive oil so that it’s about 1/4″ deep (for me, this was around half a cup or so). Heat the oil over medium heat. While the oil is heating, work quickly to bread the goat cheese: first, using one hand, dip a croquette in the egg, and be sure it’s coated. Then, transfer it to the bowl with the bread crumb mixture. Using your dry, clean hand, coat the croquette with the crumbs, turning it over and patting as necessary to make sure they adhere. Remove the breaded goat cheese to a clean plate. Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of cheese.
Once the oil is hot, gently add each of the goat cheese croquettes to the pan. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side, until the breading is golden brown. Turn the croquettes — I used a fish spatula to do this — and fry for an additional minute (you could also use tongs, but it’s just more likely you’ll smush the croquettes with them!). Remove the cheese to a plate lined with paper towel, and let drain. Then, serve as desired! These are delicious on a simple green salad, would be yummy served with tomatoes, dried fruit…the possibilities are endless!