Deep fried cheese – oh yes. How can anyone want for more than this? Yeah so it’s damn unhealthy, although serving on a simple salad helps lower the guilty conscience, but it’s not heavy or overly rich. Just plain delicious.
A Camembert salad with tomatoes and shallots sounds quite traditional, doesn’t it? I fixated on the idea of serving it with pomegranate molasses, a great idea might I add. And so a few other flavours came to play. Thyme, one of my favourite herbs, goes so well with this sort of melting French cheese, but always reminds me of middle eastern flavours… Hello Za’atar in the crumbs. Poppyseeds and sesame seeds add extra crunch.
So I didn’t really know if this would work. I kind of figured that the cheese, being so gooey, would completely burst across the pan. I had the Chinese takeaway menu on standby. But gladly, there were only a few minor cheese explosions- nothing to write about. It was an experiment worth carrying out and quite possibly the most delicious salad I’ve had all winter (yes I’m classing it as salad. Ha!)
You will need:
250g French good quality Camembert
7 tbspns Panko breadcrumbs
1 tbspn za’atar
1/2 tbspn poppy seeds
1/2 tbspn sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten
A few tbspns plain flour
15 or so cherry tomatoes
6 sprigs of thyme
A large bag of rocket
7 or so shallots, peeled and halved
1 tbspn pomegranate molasses, plus extra to serve
3 tbspn olive oil, plus extra for roasting the tomatoes
1 tbspn white wine vinegar
1litre vegetable oil, to fry
1 – Preheat the oven to 190 degrees; place the whole tomatoes, halved shallots and most of the thyme in a roasting tin with a generous glug of olive oil and seasoning
2 – Roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes until they are bursting and juicy and the shallots are tender and crisping
3 – Meanwhile cut your Camembert into generous triangles; coat each piece in flour, then egg wash, and then into a mix of the Panko crumbs, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and Za’atar.
4 – Now make your dressing; mix the olive oil, pomegranate molasses and vinegar with seasoning to taste
5 – Pop a frying pan full of the vegetable on a medium high heat; once the oil is hot (test to see if a crumb fizzes immediately) add the camembert and fry for a few minutes only
6 – Toss the rocket in the dressing, top with the roasted tomatoes and shallots hot from the oven and drain the cheese carefully; add the chunks to the salad, drizzle with extra pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with the remaining thyme leaves
Serve immediately with crusty warm bread. Yum.