I could use a reset button today. Actually, I really could have used one yesterday. Yesterday was a tough Monday. I was coming down from a busy weekend and a horrendous Eagles football performance (I was there, in person, seeing it unravel first hand) and was running on too few hours of sleep…all while coming to grips with the (emotional) fact that my baby will be turning one this weekend (Seriously. Hold me). There wasn’t enough coffee in the world to make me feel like my normal self. I’m still fighting off some of that residual “blah” today. It’s a Monday kind of Tuesday.
You know what always helps when I feel this way? A big salad. Or bowl of soup. Or a margarita. Given that I’ve probably exceeded my allotted pre-fall soup recipe sharing limit and that I already consumed one (or a few) margaritas yesterday, I’m thinking today calls for a salad. Have no fear, though. This salad involves FRIED CHEESE. Yup. You’re welcome.
Ever since Laura posted this Greek salad with crispy feta cheese a couple months ago, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of crispy feta. (Do you know Laura? Do you read her blog? If not, you should. She’s pretty awesome. This is just one of many inspirations I’ve gained from reading her beautiful blog. Check her out.) I’ve wanted to put it on everything. I finally got my act together and breaded and pan-crisped some salty feta cheese to eat over a salad…because everything in moderation? Hah. I guess I felt that if I were eating said cheese with some greens and fruit, I’d feel better about it. And guess what? That little mind trick worked….UNTIL I found myself munching on the cheese before it even made it to the salad. Womp womp.
You can’t really hold it against me, though. This crispy feta is TO DIE FOR. Yes, the all-caps drama is intentional and very appropriate. It was a revelation. I’m not sure why it never occurred to me before. I mean, I’ve crisped up a heck of a lot of goat cheese in my day, but feta? This was a first. And certainly won’t be the last.
The crispy cheese had a super-salty bite (which is my Achilles when it comes to food. The saltier, the better) and only a slight melty ooze to it. That sounds gross, but what I mean is that it held its shape and didn’t gush out when I cut into it. I probably should have just said it that way first. Sigh.
It was crispy and light…well, as “light” as fried cheese can be, I guess. And the FLAVOR! Woah. So good. It worked wonderfully with some crisp peppery greens and a fresh blueberry vinaigrette. I found this salad combo to a perfect compromise between summer and fall. Fresh blueberries are fleeting in my neighborhood, and so I wanted to highlight them while I still had the chance. And the cheese is a comforting indulgence…one that I would happily associate with fall.
Or with Mondays. Or Tuesdays.
Really, you could easily convince me to eat this cheese every day of the week on just about anything. It’s that good.
For the Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar (or balsamic)
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Crispy Feta:
- See Laura’s post for instructions – I followed them exactly
For the Salad:
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup toasted and chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 8 cups baby spinach
- The vinaigrette
- The crispy feta
For the Vinaigrette:
- Combine everything except the oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is broken down and well mixed. With the machine running, slowly stream in the olive oil until the mixture is thickened and emulsified. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve. Store any unused vinaigrette in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
For the Crispy Feta:
- See Laura’s post
- Combine the blueberries, walnuts, red onion, and spinach in a large serving bowl. Toss gently to combine and then drizzle in desired amount of vinaigrette, tossing everything to coat. Slice the crispy feta into bite-size pieces. Place dressed salad on serving plates and top with the warm feta. Enjoy immediately.