What’s missing from the final cut of this recipe scene was the charming shepherd, Lionel’s version of fried cheese. Lionel crowded the cheese in a pan and didn’t get the oil hot enough, resulting in an unattractive mush of cheesy oil. James just had to make it look like I was cooking on my own. I urge you to learn from Lionel’s mistake and make sure your oil is hot and you only fry a few pieces of cheese at a time.
- 50 g dried breadcrumbs, panko if you have it
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 2 tsp chopped thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
- 600 g young or semi mature goat’s cheese, rind removed and cut into 4cm chunks
- 60 g plain flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 200 ml olive oil
- 200 ml sunflower oil
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 dried chilli
- salt and black pepper
- 2 red peppers
- 1 medium red chilli
- 1 garlic clove
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 large beef tomato, diced ½ cm
- 10 g basil leaves, roughly torn
- ½ small red onion, very finely diced (40 g net)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 220°C
Start by making the salsa. Place the peppers and chillis on a tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the chillis and continue cooking the peppers for another 10-15 minutes, until the skin has blistered and the flesh is soft. Alternatively, place the chilli and sweet pepper directly on to an open flame and cook, turning, until the skin has blackened. Place the chillis and peppers in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool slightly. Peel the skin and discard along with the seeds. Put the pepper and chilli flesh in a blender, along with the garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Blend until smooth, adding the oil and vinegar as you blitz. Remove the salsa from the blender and gently stir through the tomato, red onion and basil, also adding a generous crack of black pepper. Set aside.
To make the bread crust, combine in a bowl the breadcrumbs, both sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, coriander seeds and ½ a teaspoon of salt. Mix well and set aside.
Lightly dust the cheese in the flour, shake off any excess, then dip in the egg and finally coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat with all the cheese.
Heat both oils, the rosemary and dried chilli in a small heavy based saucepan, approximately 17 centimetres diameter, until the oil starts to sizzle. Fry a small batch of cheese pieces in the oil on medium heat for 2 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, place on kitchen paper and keep warm while you continue with the rest of the cheese. If the chilli and rosemary are getting dark, remove them from the oil and discard.
Serve the cheese warm, topped with the salsa.
View all the recipes from Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Island Feast.