French in a Flash: Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese Recipe

French in a Flash

Quick and easy recipes that prove that great French food doesn't require a tall hat and a fancy kitchen.

French in a Flash: Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese Recipe

[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

Who says watching TV is bad for you? Just last weekend while I was watching the Food Network I saw an idea that I loved: a recipe that combined strawberries and goat cheese. I use goat cheese in sweet dishes all the time, but I have never done the reverse of putting strawberries in savory. I tried it by combining two restaurant classics: crispy warm goat cheese salad and raspberry vinaigrette.

I started with the warm goat cheese salad we all know and love from every bistro in America. The fresh chèvre is coated with panko, and fried until crisp and oozing. If you want to save a couple of steps and calories though, the salad would be just as good with some goat cheese crumbled over the top.

Then, instead of raspberry vinaigrette, I concocted a strawberry vinaigrette thickened with fresh strawberries and honey. Toss it with baby spinach leaves and crunchy pine nuts, along with more sliced strawberries and you have a salad that is sweet, tangy, and full of character. (I know strawberries aren't in season, but the flavor of the vinaigrette makes up for it.)

I had the salad for lunch. It turned out that watching TV was very good for me—this time, at least.

  • Yield:4
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:20 minutes


  • 6 ounces fresh goat cheese log, cut into 4 1-inch medallions with a string of dental flos
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 12 strawberries, divided
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 ounces baby spinach salad
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. 1.

    Working one at a time, dip each goat cheese medallion in egg, then in panko, pressing on crumbs to firmly adhere. Place on parchment-lined small rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

  2. 2.

    In blender, combine 4 strawberries, vinegar, olive oil, and honey. Purée until smooth and thickened, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. 3.

    Thinly slice the remaining 8 strawberries and toss within bowl with spinach and pine nuts.

  4. 4.

    Heat vegetable oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Fry cold goat cheese medallions until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, using a slotted fish spatula to turn the cheese in the pan. Drain on paper towels. Toss salad with some vinaigrette (there will be extra) and salt and pepper to taste. Place goat cheese on top of salad, and serve immediately with baguette.