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Salad of Spicy Greens with Fried Cheese & Tiny Tomato Vinaigrette

Ben Fink

Servings: four.

At the farmers’ market, choose a mix of young, firm, spicy greens that will hold up to the warm vinaigrette in this salad. The cheese I like for this recipe is called Panela—a Mexican cheese that won’t melt when you fry it. You can find it in Hispanic markets, but Mexican queso blanco, another firm, fresh cow’s milk cheese that also holds its shape when fried, is more widely available in U.S. grocery stores. If you can’t find either, use fresh mozzarella (drained well and patted dry) or even Muenster.


  • 8 cups savory, peppery greens (such as watercress, arugula, frisée, young mustard, nasturtium)
  • 8 oz. Panela, queso blanco, or mozzarella, sliced into 8 pieces, each about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water until frothy
  • 2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot or scallion
  • 3 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup rich homemade or low-salt vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cups tiny cherry tomatoes
  • Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, flat-leaf parsley, and basil
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped pitted oil-cured olives for garnish

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 480
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 300
  • Fat (g): 34
  • Saturated Fat (g): 16
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14
  • Cholesterol (mg): 75
  • Sodium (mg): 930
  • Carbohydrates (g): 28
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 18


  • Divide the greens among four shallow soup plates. Dust the cheese slices with the seasoned flour and then dip them in the beaten egg. Let the excess egg drip off and roll the cheese in the breadcrumbs, pressing gnetly to coat evenly. Heat 2 Tbs. of the butter and 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and quickly sauté the cheese until lightly browned and crisp (about 1 minute per side). Drain the cheese on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven.
  • Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. oil in it. Quickly sauté the shallots until softened. Add the wine and broth and reduce by half over high heat. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and sauté until the tomatoes just begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the herbs and spoon the contents of the skillet over and around the greens. Arrange the fried cheese on the salads and scatter the olives over. Serve immediately.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • user-33410 | 09/24/2019

    I’ve been making this recipe for nineteen years now. It is extraordinary. Changes? I use shrink-wrapped mozzarella. I don’t use the olives, because they interfere with the delicate flavors of the finished dish. Herbs are nice, but not necessary. A long mise en place, but worth it. Hard to express how much we love this.

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