Warm and Yummy First Course: Toasted Goat Cheese Salad

We love fresh goat cheese (chèvre) here at Glover Gardens.  Its tangy, creamy, tart goodness compliments just about anything you can think of to pair it with, but it is good without much doctoring, too. And we love goats, too.  They are so friendly!  We found a marvelous goat cheese farm in Buena Vista, CO, that we like to visit when we travel to our cabin, Little House in the Rockies.  The goats’ milk at Jumpin’ Good Goats makes  incredibly good cheeses ranging from very soft Creme de la Chèvre to goat feta to goat cheddar.  We sampled like there was no tomorrow ever gonna come, and brought back a full ice chest of goat cheese to Glover Gardens.  Good times.

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The picture  (below) of this goat cheese salad that I created after looking at lots of other recipes was one of the first that I uploaded when I started the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog last year (on the About page), but I never shared the recipe.  It’s time now that the leaves are beginning to fall – doesn’t warm goat cheese in a savory Panko crust on a bed of greens dressed with very good olive oil and balsamic vinegar sound good?  So good you want to eat it right now??

Baked Goat Cheese Salad
Baked Goat Cheese Salad

I’ll admit it – there are other good recipes out there with warm, Panko- or something-crusted goat cheese on a salad, but most of them are more complex than this one (dip the goat cheese in egg before coating, marinate the goat cheese, make a creamy dressing, etc.).  I like this recipe because it is simple and jusssst right.  The goat cheese with its golden brown and savory crust is the star of the show, and greens don’t need nothin’ but high-class olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The first time we made it, this salad was the first course in advance of a lovely, garlic-studded pork tenderloin (I need to post that recipe, too!), and we were a little full by the time we got to the pork.  So beware…and maybe, if you’re serving a robust main course, just serve one goat cheese round per plate.  That would stretch this recipe to serve 8.  The goat cheese salad is also a really, really good luncheon dish, paired with a soup.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 celery stalk, sliced slanted / crosswise in 1/4 inch slices to form pretty slivers
  • 8 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 1/4 slices red onion, quartered
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup Panko or toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped, or 1 tsp. dried, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 oz. goat cheese log, sliced into 8 rounds (put the goat cheese back in the refrigerator after you slice it if you’re not going to crust it right away)
  • High-quality balsamic vinegar

Cooking Instructions

Preheat over to 375. In a small bowl, combine Panko, oregano, red pepper, garlic, pepper and salt and stir to mix. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and stir until evenly distributed. This mixture will form the crust for the goat cheese.  Spread 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a small rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the goat cheese rounds, then use your hands to coat each one on all sides with the Panko mixture and arrange on the baking sheet. Put in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown (don’t be shy about turning on the broiler for a moment if you need to).

While the goat cheese is baking, arrange greens on four salad plates, then add celery, tomatoes and onions. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the salads. Remove goat cheese from oven and place two on each salad, then add freshly ground pepper to taste and garnish with oregano leaves or a small amount of dried oregano.


And if you’re as into goat cheese as we are, here’s another really good goat cheese recipe:  Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread .  More to come, I promise…

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

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