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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spinach, Bacon, & Fried Goat Cheese Salad

My favorite kind of salads are the ones filled with so much bacon, cheese, and fried things that you just know your heart woulda been better off if you'd just eaten a double cheeseburger... only half kidding. This is one of those salads that has quickly become a favorite of mine. It was so delicious and satisfying, although, when are bacon and fried goat cheese ever not satisfying? Ya gotta make this. Makes 2 main course salads.

4 ounces baby spinach
1/4 cup candied pecans
5 pieces of fried bacon- keep the bacon grease for the dressing
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Fried Goat Cheese
3 ounces goat cheese
1/3 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt

Equally divide the spinach, pecans, and bacon pieces between two bowls or plates and set aside. Next, make the fried goat cheese. To do this, take the goat cheese and cut into 1/3-inch slices using a knife just run under hot water (you should get about 6 slices). Place slices on a plate and refrigerate for a few minutes. Meanwhile, place the flour in a small bowl, the egg in another bowl, and combine the bread crumbs, thyme, garlic powder, and salt in another. Take each slice of cheese and first coat both sides in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs. Fry each in a bit of olive oil until lightly browned on each side. They are delicate, to be careful. Place 3 pieces on each salad. 

Quickly wipe out the oil from frying the cheese and pour 4 tablespoons of bacon grease into the pan. If you do not have this much, substitute olive oil. Add the bacon pieces and cook until warmed. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 20-30 seconds. Add the thyme and cook for 10 seconds. Pour in the red wine vinegar and cranberries and immediately take off the heat. Give a quick stir and pour on top of salads. Eat and enjoy (this is not a salad you want sitting around for a long time... eat right away!). 

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