Fried tomatoes with goat's curd

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 100g panko breadcrumbs 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 800g assorted firm tomatoes
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 large handful mixed mild leaves (dandelion, frisée, mizuna)
  • 1 small bunch dill, leaves picked
  • 80g goat's curd (or a young and creamy goat's or sheep's cheese)
Fried tomatoes with goat's curd
    Serves four

Use a selection of firm tomatoes (red, green or any of the many shades and shapes available), fry them in breadcrumbs, then match with leaves and mild cheese to let the tomato flavours shine. Though, if truth be told, any good soft goat's or sheep's cheese will do. Panko are the elite of the breadcrumb world because they stay so crunchy and light.

  1. Make a dressing by whisking together the oil and lemon juice with some salt and pepper, then set aside.
  2. Prepare two plates, one with the eggs, the other with the breadcrumbs, mixed well with garlic, salt and pepper. Top and tail the tomatoes, then cut them into slices at least 1cm thick.
  3. Put enough frying oil in a medium pan to come 1cm up the sides. Put the pan on a medium heat. Once hot, dip a few slices of tomatoes in egg, shake off the excess, cover well with breadcrumbs, again shaking off the excess, and fry in the oil. It shouldn't take much longer than 30 seconds on each side for the crumbs to turn golden without the tomato disintegrating. Transfer carefully to absorbent paper, using tongs or a fish slice. Sprinkle with some salt and gently pat the top with kitchen paper to remove more of the oil. Repeat with the rest of the tomato slices, making sure the oil doesn't get too hot. (You may need to sift out burnt bits of breadcrumb as you go.)
  4. When all the tomatoes are fried and still warm, toss the leaves in with the dressing. Lay out the tomato slices and leaves on serving plates, scatter dill on top and dot with half-teaspoon-sized chunks of goat's curd. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve at once.