Warm Mushroom Salad with Parmesan Cheese Balls and Walnuts

, from Issue #73. July, 2017
Photography by Sarah Tuck.
Warm Mushroom Salad with Parmesan Cheese Balls and Walnuts

There’s nothing like a melting ball of cheese to take your salad to the next level.

Serves: 6


Walnut vinaigrette
¼ cup walnut oil
1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon caster sugar
Cheese balls
25 grams butter
¼ cup plain flour
300ml milk
100 grams cream cheese, chopped, at room temperature
1½ cups grated parmesan
2½ cups breadcrumbs
2 eggs
4 cups high smoke-point cooking oil, plus small chunk of bread for heat test
Mushroom and rocket salad
40 grams butter
2–3 tablespoons olive oil
800 grams mixed mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons sherry
3 tablespoons cream
To serve
8 cups wild rocket
1 cup lightly  toasted walnuts
½ cup garlic aioli, (optional)
sea salt and ground pepper


Walnut vinaigrette: Whisk all ingredients to combine. Set aside.

Cheese balls: Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl and add flour. Whisk to combine with ¼ cup of the milk, microwave for 1 minute, whisk again, then add the remainder of the milk.

Cook in the microwave in 45-second bursts, whisking in between until smooth and thick. Add cream cheese and parmesan and leave to sit for 30 seconds.

Whisk until smooth and combined, if necessary giving one more 30-second burst in the microwave. Season with sea salt, cover with plastic wrap then leave to chill in the fridge for two hours.

Put breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and whisk eggs in another. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

Take heaped teaspoons of the cheese mixture and roll lightly into balls (about 24). Roll in the breadcrumbs to coat, then dip in the eggs, then again in the breadcrumbs to coat well, and place on prepared tray. Chill for at least three hours until ready to cook.

Heat oil in a deep pot until a small chunk of bread dropped in pops back up to the top in 20 seconds.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Cook cheese balls in batches until golden. Drain and keep hot in the oven for up to 10 minutes, until ready to serve.

Mushroom and rocket salad: Heat the oil and butter together in a large deep frying pan. Add the mushrooms, season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook over a medium high heat for 8 minutes.

Add the sherry and cream and cook another 5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through and most of the liquid has been absorbed. To serve the salad, layer rocket with mushrooms, top with cheese balls and walnuts and drizzle over the dressing. If desired add a little aioli on the side. Serves 6