Warm things

Salad, vegetarian

Well, it suddenly became cold here in Boston. I’ve been wearing my winter coat, which is a little frightening in October, ’cause I’ve really got nowhere to go from here… just more accessories (hat, gloves etc). And when the weather turns like this, we suddenly become much more dependent on cooked foods (I am not a fan of cold fruit when we’re seeing temps below 40º F in the early mornings). It also appears that nothing serves to make a person less tolerant of a pre-winter cold snap like an upcoming move to the desert. Yes indeed. I am very done with Boston’s fickle weather patterns for a good, long while. This little gourmet salad is a great fresh-food/comfort food hybrid thanks to some delicious, breaded and pan-fried goat cheese rounds. Feel free to embellish as I did, with fresh figs or cooked beets.

Baby Greens With Warm Goat Cheese, adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl, 2004

I have already made this salad several times in the last couple of weeks, and I can attest that it takes very well to certain embellishments. Fresh figs are nice because they provide added texture and interest and go so well with goat cheese. Warm beets are also good here.

serves 4

2 large egg white

2 teaspoons water

8 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds soft mild goat cheese, cut from a cold log

2/3 cup dry bread crumbs (preferably Japanese panko)

4 tsp teaspoon cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp sugar

7 Tbs tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

8 cups mesclun (mixed baby salad greens; 1/4 lb)


Whisk together egg whites and water. Dip cheese rounds in egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bread crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Chill 15 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, salt, mustard, sugar, and a pinch of pepper in a small salad bowl. Add 4 tablespoons oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet (I use a cast iron, but turn the heat down a bit because it gets very hot) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté cheese until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Remove skillet from heat.

Add greens to dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve salad topped with warm cheese.

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