Baked Herbed Goat Cheese Salad

By Ira

This is a an elegant and delicious salad, perfect for when company’s coming or just for you. I serve this as an appetizer although my friend told me that she would love this for a weeknight meal.

Serves 6 – Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Live 2005

You’ll need to serve the goat cheese warm. The trick is to prepare all the salad ingredients, and then toss the salad as soon as the goat cheese comes out of the oven and cools slightly.

Goat cheese:

  • 3 ounces white melba toasts
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 12 ounces firm goat cheese
  • olive oil

You can reduce the amount of goat cheese to 8 ounces if you’re serving less people. A 12 ounce goat cheese will make 2 pieces of goat cheese per person for 6 people. An 8 ounce goat cheese will serve 4 people. If you decide to go with the 8 ounce goat cheese like I did, then reduce the melba toasts to 2 ounces, the black pepper to 2/3 teaspoon, and the mustard to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

Salad:

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ground black pepper
  • 18 ounces (about 14 cups) mixed hearty greens, washed and dried

This salad serves 6, so you can reduce the amount if you’re serving less people. I made the vinaigrette as it is, but reduced the amount of the greens. I used the rest of the vinaigrette for lunches.

For the cheese, process the melba toasts in a food processor

until you get fine crumbs.

Transfer them to a medium bowl and stir in the pepper. 

In another medium bowl, whisk the egg and mustard. 

In a small bowl, combine the chives and the thyme. 

Using dental floss or kitchen twine, divide the cheese into 12 equal piece, or 8 equal pieces if you’re using an 8 ounce piece of goat cheese.

Roll each piece of cheese into a ball.

Roll each ball lightly into the herbs. You might want to press down the herbs slightly into the cheese so they don’t fall off.

Add each piece to the egg mixture, a few at a time,

then onto the crumbs.

Flatten each ball gently with your fingertips into a disk about 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Freeze the disks as they are for 30 minutes until firm,

or you can wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and freeze up to 1 week. 

For the salad, combine all the ingredients except for the greens, whisk or shake in a jar and set aside.

When ready to assemble the salad, adjust an oven rack to the uppermost position, and heat the oven to 475F. Remove the cheese from the freezer and brush the tops and sides with olive oil.

Bake until the crumbs are golden 7 to 9 minutes or 9 to 12 minutes if the cheese is completely frozen. Gently transfer the cheese to a paper-toweled plate using a thin spatula, and cool for 3 minutes.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the greens and toss them.

Divide them onto individual plates, add 2 balls of goat cheese on each salad,

(or 3 balls of cheese!). Serve immediately.

 

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