The ubiquitous goat’s cheese salad pops up on menus all over France, but I’ve made a seasonal version with persimmon and raspberry vinegar. Try it as a starter to a long French lunch.
1 Tbsp raspberry vinegar (see Recipe Notes) 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, preferably lemon-infused ¼ tsp salt or ½ tsp flaky sea salt Dab of creamy Dijon mustard 1 large, firm non-astringent persimmon 1 small cos (romaine) or buttercrunch lettuce 3 cups rocket (arugula) leaves 1 Tbsp standard flour ⅓ cup panko crumbs 1 small free-range egg 2 x 100g (3-4 oz) fresh goat’s cheese logs 1 Tbsp olive oil 2 Tbsp butter ½ cup fresh walnuts Runny honey for drizzling, or apple glaze
*Put goat’s cheese logs in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to make slicing them easier.
1 Whisk vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and mustard together in a large bowl. Trim and peel persimmon, cut in half and chop. Mix with dressing.
2 Prepare salad greens next. Trim rocket, break lettuce into leaves, wash and dry and tear into bite-size pieces. Put leaves in the bowl on top of the persimmon, then put rocket on top, but don’t toss.
3 Put flour and crumbs on separate paper towels or plates. Have the egg in a dish lightly beaten with a pinch of salt. Slice each log of cheese into 7-8 thick rounds. Use a thin-bladed knife and run it under hot water and wipe clean after each slice. Coat cheese rounds with flour, then dunk them through the beaten egg, letting excess drip off and finally, coat with crumbs.
4 Heat olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat and when the oil is hot, add the butter. Once the butter is sizzling, add crumbed goat’s cheese rounds and cook quickly on both sides until golden, turning carefully with a spatula. Transfer to a plate as they are done.
5 Toss salad leaves and persimmon together, adding the walnuts. Dish salad onto plates and top with goat’s cheese. Drizzle goat’s cheese with a little honey or apple glaze and serve immediately.
If you don’t have raspberry vinegar, cheat by crushing a fresh or frozen raspberry with a little oil or vinegar in a ramekin. It’s delicious!
Goat’s cheese rounds can be crumbed 1 hour before frying and will remain supple for 15 minutes after frying. If you want to do them ahead, they can be briefly reheated on a baking tray (sheet) in a hot oven.
The salad can also be made with fresh goat’s cheese.
Non-astringent persimmons (astringent persimmons are the old-fashioned variety that tasted terrible until they softened into a gorgeous apricot-coloured jelly inside) are ripe when the skin changes from coral to deep orange. Persimmon will keep several days at room temperature, or for a few days refrigerated once they have turned orange.