A Throwback Goat Cheese Salad
There are a few things about this salad that scream “trendy foods of the past!” and there is also a classic element, hailing from bistros in France. Trends include the 1980’s American foodie tendency to fry goat cheese and put it in a salad (which is also the classic element, as we totally stole the idea from the French). Also, beets and cheese in salads came into popularity in the 80’s. Honestly I’m glad they did, because I adore the combination. And folks, two words: fried cheese.
A few imperatives for this simple recipe.
Get good goat cheese, season it, and chill the patties for at least 15 minutes before cooking.
Try to get the best lettuces you can, as they are the biggest player here. A mix of textures and colors work beautifully. I really prefer adult-sized leaves for this, but if you can only find young mixed greens, then go for it.
Invest in one great bottle of olive oil that you use only for salads.
Find a brand of champagne vinegar that you like and always have it on hand.
With a little forethought and a few good pantry ingredients on hand, you can have what I consider to be a perfect lunch. And I am totally gifting you my best salad dressing recipe. So, you’re welcome. Please make this salad at least once and let me know what you think!
Salad Greens and Beets with Crusty warm Goat Cheeses
4 heaping tablespoons of a fresh, soft goat cheese made from happy goats
1/4 teaspoon of salt and a grind of pepper
1 tablespoon of minced chives
1 small minced clove of garlic
1 egg, beaten with a spoonful of water, or a beaten egg white
1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs in a shallow dish (panko, fresh homemade, or gluten free-I think panko has the best texture)
2 tablespoons of ghee, canola or olive oil
4-5 cups of washed mixed lettuces.
About a cup of your favorite beets, cooked in boiling salted water, skins on, until tender. Cooled and sliced in whatever way you think is most beautiful.
A small handful of chopped, toasted nuts if you like (I had some leftover walnuts)
1 generous tablespoon of very finely minced shallots soaked in
1/4 cup of good champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (creamy)
1 teaspoon of mild honey (or agave or sugar)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup of good EVOO (approximately)
Get a fork and a small bowl and mix the goat cheese with the seasonings. Have a small dish lined with wax or parchment paper ready. Quickly form into four small patties and dip into the egg and then panko. Place on the prepared plate and stick in the fridge for a MINIMUM of 15 minutes, better yet, an hour (sorry for yelling).
Wash and dry your lovely lettuces and make the dressing by whisking everything in a bowl till creamy.
Heat a small non-stick frying pan on medium/low for a couple of minutes. Add the fat and wait a minute. Get your chilled patties and place carefully into the hot fat and cook until each side is golden brown.
Dress the salad leaves and beets and compose in your favorite bowl. Add the goat cheeses and serve with a little more dressing on the side while the cheese is still warm.