This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Nut Thins.
Your summer salad is here.
First things first. Can I have one of these? I mean, how magical. Almost as magical as baby mozzarella balls.
Maybe I’ll ask Andrew to build me a tent in our office for my birthday. Too bad my birthday wishlist already includes too many things like every dish this girl makes, a gas range, a tripod (because Andrew and I managed to break my hand-me-down tripod this week), any food magazine subscription (I get tired of staring at a screen or being in my brain to find inspiration), a home remodel and more baby mozzarella balls.
In addition to being filled with mozzarella balls, this salad has no lettuce and…even more cheese. Well it has basil, which is lettuce-y, but that’s an herb so it doesn’t count, right? You could add lettuce, that’d be fine. I added salmon. See the last pohto.
When making this salad I was trying to think of a way to make it more FRESH. I decided adding citrus was the way to go. My Aunt Ali (who isn’t actually my aunt but pretty much is my aunt) makes a salad that has mandarin oranges and sugared almonds and some kind of deelicious dressing and it’s the best salad. I figured I’d follow her lead on this one.
Getting all cozy with the mandarin oranges in this salad are crispy goat cheese balls. I took Nut Thins crackers, which I’d say taste like a rice cake meets a pretzel, and you grind them up to coat the goat cheese balls. If you like pretzels or rice cakes or goat cheese or are one of my gluten free friends, you’ll probably like these. Or if you like crisp and crunchy things you’ll like these.
So if you’re ever in need of a summer salad, this may be it. You should most definitely add grilled corn to make it even more SUMMERY!
Mandarin Orange Caprese Salad with Crispy Goat Cheese Balls
A FRESH salad for summahhhh.
Yield: makes 4 side dish servings
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 20
Total Time: 35 minutes
40 Almond Blue Diamond Nut Thins Crackers
4 oz goat cheese, rolled into 10-12 small balls
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3/4 cup baby mozzarella balls
1/3 cup mandarin oranges
6 large basil leaves, chiffonade
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a coffee grinder/food processor/blender, grind crackers until they form a flour. Pour cracker flour into a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk an egg. Take one of your goat cheese balls and dunk it in the egg. Then roll it in the flour. Then take the same goat cheese ball and dunk it in the egg again. Then dunk it in the flour again. So you double coat each goat cheese ball. Repeat process until all the goat cheese balls are coated. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping once during cooking and checking frequently during the last 5 minutes of baking to prevent burning.
Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add in crispy goat cheese just before serving. I served mine with salmon!