Fried goat cheese with onion confit is a gorgeous combination of flavors–salty, crispy goat cheese and sweet, tangy, confit onions. Saffron, bay leaves, garlic, and white wine just make it that much more exquisitely irresistible.
An outstanding tapa—one of my favorites from the new generation of tapas.–Penelope Casas
WHAT DOES CONFIT MEAN?
Confit means, literally, to preserve. In this case, it’s preserving food by cooking it in oil. Covering food in oil sounds a lot like deep-frying, right? Absolutely–except, in this case, the difference is the temperature. Confit food is cooked at about 200ºF (or less) instead of the high temps of deep-frying. This technique is an all-star of the low and slow movement.
Oil is inhospitable to bacteria, which made it an excellent way to preserve food in the past. But the technique has hung on because it makes food taste incredible. Melt in your mouth incredible. Confit onions or garlic, refrigerated and covered in oil, will last for up to 6 months. Besides that, they taste superb and the leftover oil is amazing for drizzling and dipping.
Fried Goat Cheese with Onion Confit
- Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
For the onion confit
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions such as Vidalia or other sweet onion, (1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds), slivered
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/8 teaspoon crumbled thread saffron
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine
For the fried goat cheese
- 1/2 recipe onion confit
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- One 4-ounce log goat cheese cut in 1/2-inch slices
- Dried bread crumbs preferably mixed with Japanese-style panko crumbs
- Mild olive oil for frying
Make the onion confit
- Put the oil, onions, garlic, saffron, and bay leaf in a shallow sauté pan. Heat over the lowest possible heat until the mixture begins to sizzle. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, add wine and cook until evaporated. (This part may be prepared ahead.)
Make the fried goat cheese
- In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and parsley together with a fork. Dip the cheese in the egg, then coat with the crumbs.
- Heat the oil to 360°F (182°C), preferably in a deep fryer. Otherwise pour oil into a skillet to a depth of at least 1 inch, and heat the oil until it quickly browns a cube of bread. Fry the cheese until golden brown and drain on paper towels. (This can be kept warm in a 200°F (90°C) oven for up to 30 minutes.)
- Warm the confit and place a tablespoon or so on 4 to 8 individual plates. Place one or two of the fried cheese pieces on top and serve right away.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This was an easy recipe that tasted great, looked attractive, and could be a useful addition to a variety of recipe repertoires. I could eat the confit by itself. But that confit would also be great with toast, salad, omelets, or sandwiches. And the fried goat cheese was as terrific as the onion confit.
Easy to prepare, with just the right amount of breathing room and allowance for the kind of Luddite cooking I embrace. For example, in lieu of a deep fryer, Casas provides instruction on how to ascertain correct oil temperature and fry without a cooking/candy thermometer. I didn’t use a thermometer and my frying temperature was just fine for the cheese, after test-frying with cubes of bread, as she directs.
The panko-style bread crumbs mixed with regular ones led to a nice crusty texture on the outside of the finished cheese.
I served this as the first course for a small dinner party, and everyone loved it. Really, what’s not to love? Melting, sweet, caramelized onions topped with crunchy rounds oozing creamy goat cheese. If I hadn’t had company, I could have made a whole meal of this.
My only observation is that the cheese slices better if not refrigerator-cold. And from past experience with similar recipes, chilling after breading helps the crumbs adhere during frying. It also allows you to prepare the cheese ahead and simply fry it when needed.
Delicious! We made this for an impromptu get-together with friends. The onion confit cooked while getting ready for our guests, the fried goat cheese was finished while sipping a glass of wine once everyone had arrived. It could have easily been dinner by itself with a nice salad and some good bread.
Originally published April 16, 2007