Mar 26, 2013

Project 279 and 278: Broiled Goat Cheese Salad

If you like goat cheese, this is the salad for you. A crispy coating covering a warm, creamy center, set atop fresh salad greens tossed in a zesty vinaigrette. We found this rich and filling.
Pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees and place a rack in the highest position. Begin with a cold 8 oz. log of goat cheese (mine was peppered). Using a piece of dental floss, section the log into 6-8 equal sections. First slide the floss under the log. Bring each end of the floss up and over the log, as if beginning to tie your shoe. Slowly pull the floss through the cheese, keeping each length of floss parallel to each other and perpendicular to the cheese log. Roll each section into a ball. This helps keep the cheese from crumbling. I found that it also helps smooth out the sharp edges and keeps each portion the same size.

Breading the cheese:

3 oz. melba toast

1 egg

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp freshly chopped basil

1 tbsp freshly chopped sage (or any combination of chopped fresh herbs)

In a food processor, grind the melba toast into fine crumbs. Gently whisk the dijon mustard into the egg. Finely chop the fresh herbs. Roll each ball in the fresh herbs, then in the egg wash, then in the melba toast crumbs. Press those crumbs into the cheese. Shape each ball into a disc by gently flattening it a bit then forming a "C" around it with your thumb and forefinger. Turn and flatten as you go. In the end, it should look like a small hockey puck. Set each disc of cheese on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.Freeze the cheese for 30 minutes. This allows the outside to get hot enough to crisp but won't completely melt the cheese. Before baking, brush each portion with olive oil. This helps attain that golden crispy crust and helps to prevent the toast crumbs from burning. Bake for 5-7 minutes, depending on your oven.

Allow the cheese to cool a couple of minutes while you toss the greens with the vinaigrette.

basic vinaigrette:

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp minced shallot

pinch salt & freshly ground black pepper

Put the salad on a plate, put the cheese on the salad, put it all in your belly.

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