As we have laughed many times with another meat-eating food-nerd friend of mine, goats cheese is the steak of the vegetarian world. Which would make this “steak and salad”. For vegos. The sweet onion jam and the salty goats cheese balance each other wonderfully here.
- one 1-2cm thick goats cheese (cherve) “round” per person i.e ~150g per person
- 4 medium red onions
- about 2T of balsamic vinegar
- 1-2T of brown sugar
- a head of lettuce
- ½ a cucumber
- ½ a red pepper
- a handful cherry tomatoes
- 100g cashew nuts
- salt and black pepper
- olive oil
- white wine vinegar
The salad vegetables/nuts are flexible, use what you like. I’ve just included what I might typically use as inspiration.
Try to get a solid, crumbly looking round cheese. If you see soft, running looking parts around the outside where the rind is, this will run all over your pan when you fry them. This doesn’t effect the flavour at all, it just doesn’t look quite so attractive.
You can dress the salad with whatever you like but I prefer a simple vinegrette. By which I mean really, just grind a little black pepper and drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar over the salad. The only thing I would suggest is: do this only just before serving, otherwise you will have a soggy, limp salad.
- Put a pan on a medium to low heat (3/6 on our hob) and add a little olive oil.
- Slice the onions and add to the pan, with some salt and black pepper.
- Fry the onions for about 30mins or until they have softened completely, stirring once every 5 or 10 minutes. The heat should be such that, they haven’t taken too much colour but rather just softened and cooked down.
- Add the brown sugar and stir for a minute until evenly combined.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to a jammy consistency. When ready remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
- Prepare the salad by chopping all the salad ingredients and scattering them across your plates.
- Place a (preferably non-stick) pan onto a medium high heat and allow to come to temperature.
- When the pan is warm, place the cherve rounds in the pan.
- Fry until the cheese is warm-through and crispy on the outside. You may have some issue with the cheese melting and running through the pan in the cheese is a bit older – don’t worry about this too much, it mightn’t look quite as pretty but it doesn’t effect the flavour.
- Grind a little black pepper and drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar over the salad.
- Scatter the nuts over the salad.
- Place the cheese on the plate and top with a generous helping of caramellised onions.