Fried Goat Cheese & Rhubarb Jam
Savory rhubarb-cranberry jam, caramelized onions, pan-fried chipotle goat cheese, walnuts, fresh thyme
Fried goat cheese can be temperamental, but it's totally worth it for that crispy-on-the-outside, melty-on-the-inside result. A good trick is to keep it cold before frying it, so it doesn't start to melt prematurely and fall apart in the hot oil. Since you're going to be shaping the cheese discs with your hands, this might mean putting them back in the fridge for a bit after you've breaded them. As a time saver, you can make both these (pre-frying) and the cranberry-rhubarb sauce ahead of time, keeping in the fridge until you're ready to fry your cheese and make your pizza.
1 ball of pizza dough
flour for dusting
semolina flour for pizza stone
salt & pepper
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
dash of sherry vinegar
handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
For the jam:
1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
For the goat cheese:
1 egg, beaten
1 log of goat cheese, cut into slices (or molded into equally-sized discs with your hands)
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
a few pinches of chipotle chile powder
Preheat your oven to 550° F, or as hot as it will go. Start by caramelizing your onions. Heat some butter (or olive oil if you prefer) over medium heat and add your onion slices. Once the pan is hot, reduce the heat to low or medium low and let the onions simmer.
After about 20-30 minutes, you can add a pinch of salt & a couple pinches of brown sugar, and a dash of sherry vinegar. Let the onions soften and caramelize for a while—I like to let them sit on the heat for at least 45 minutes total (if not longer), but if you're short on time, they'll still be pretty soft and tasty a while before that.
While your onions are caramelizing, you can make the jam. In a deep skillet or medium saucepan, stir together the rhubarb, juice, brown sugar, balsamic and ginger, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Keep it at a gentle boil until it starts to thicken—if necessary, you can dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of water and stir that in, to thicken the sauce even more. Simmer until you have a nice jammy consistency, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Next, place the beaten egg in a small bowl and combine the panko and chile powder in another. Heat a couple tablespoons of canola oil in a pan until shimmering*. You can test the heat by throwing in a breadcrumb and seeing if it sizzles.
Dip the goat cheese slices into the egg, then dredge them in the breadcrumb mixture, keeping one wet hand and one dry to avoid having to wash your hands every 2 seconds.
When your oil is hot, carefully place your cheese in the pan and fry for about a minute on each side, until golden brown and crispy all over. Carefully remove the fried cheese and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate to crisp up even more.
Next, prepare your pizza dough using the instructions on the right. When you've baked it for a minute, take it out and brush it lightly with olive oil. Spread an even layer of the jam over the pizza, followed by the walnuts and caramelized onions. Top with the goat cheese and pop it in the oven.
Bake until the crust is a nice golden brown and the fried cheese is getting extra crispy on top. Take it out, top with some fresh thyme sprigs, and enjoy!
*As mentioned in the note above, you may want to chill your breaded goat cheese slices for a bit before frying if you've softened them too much with the heat of your hands. If so, wait to heat the oil until you're ready to fry.
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