Fried Gorgonzola On Apricot Pastry
On a recent trip to South Africa, I had the opportunity to dine at more than just a few amazing restaurants. Naturally, I photographed just about everything we ate (as my husband sat patiently waiting for me to get that one perfect shot) not only because the presentations were absolutely stunning, but also because I wanted to remember what we had eaten so I could share some of this amazing food with you. One of the dishes that I fell in love with was these perfectly deep fried Camembert nuggets sitting in a pool of raspberry marmalade. Dripping, gooey cheese; tart, tangy, and savory all in one bite. Yes, they were that good! When we got back home and I went to the store to make this dish, there were no raspberries to be had; not even frozen ones. I decided to do an inspiration dish instead, so I ended up using a Gorgonzola that I had on hand. This is my spin on that memorable meal of our first night in Johannesburg that was the beginning of a gastronomic adventure! Now, before you panic, I know this may seem like a lot of steps, but read it through and do the prep ahead of time. It will all come together beautifully, I promise!
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.Lightly toast walnuts in a small saute pan, and season with salt. Set aside to cool then break into pieces. If you are not caramelizing your onions, skip to the next step.
- Melt butter in a saute pan over medium low heat. Add onions and sugar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir lightly then let cook, stirring occasionally. Remove onions to a plate when browned. Over a higher heat in the same saute pan, add vinegar, and reduce to a glaze. Add stripped thyme leaves then remove from heat. Return onions to pan and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Make large 4" x 4" squares or cut-outs of your choice with the pastry dough. Score an even 1/2" border around the edges. Brush cut-outs with a little melted butter, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Spoon 1 T of apricot filling into the center of each square, and top with an equal amount of caramelized onions. Bake until pastry is golden, about 10 to 12 minutes, but keep an eye on them. Let cool 5 minutes then gently remove to a cooling rack. In the meantime, in a deep saucepan or deep fryer, heat oil to 360 degrees.
- In three small bowls, place small amounts of flour, eggs, and bread crumbs. Roll each cheese ball in the flour, then in the egg, and then in the bread crumbs. Fry in batches until golden brown. Set on paper towels to drain, and season with salt. Keep warm.
- In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper. Toss greens and pears together in dressing, and season with salt and pepper.
- To assemble, place one cheese ball on each pastry square and top with a little salad and nuts. Drizzle with walnut oil to finish.
Caramelizing the onions will take at least 35 minutes or more if you have the time. To save time though, purchase a sweet-and-savory marmalade of your choice, then just add the thyme leaves and stir. This will also replace the apricot filling.