Warmed Goat Cheese Salad on a cold, cold night

Sliced goat cheese

I adore Ina Garten and her Barefoot Contessa recipes.  They are tasty, use ingredients that are readily available and have been described as "elegant but earthy." So, when I came across her recipe for warm goat cheese salad, I couldn't resist making it.  It was easy to make and delicious, as well as the perfect light lunch or starter salad for dinner.

Ingredients 1 (11-ounce) log plain or herbed Montrachet 2 extra-large egg whites, beaten with 1 tablespoon water Fresh white bread crumbs

For the dressing: 2 tablespoons good cider vinegar 2 tablespoons good Champagne vinegar

Breaded cheese headed to refrigerator

Pinch sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 extra-large egg yolk 1 cup good olive oil Enough mixed salad greens for 6 servings Olive oil and unsalted butter, for frying

Directions: Slice the Montrachet into 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices.  Dip each slice into the beaten egg whites, then the bread crumbs Be sure the cheese is thoroughly coated.  Place the slices on a rack and chill them for at least 15 minutes. For the salad dressing:  Place the vinegars, sugar, salt, pepper, and egg yolk in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade Blend for 1 minute.  With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until the vinaigrette is thickened. Season, to taste. Toss the salad greens with enough dressing to moisten, then divide them among 6 plates. Warmed Cheese: Melt 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat until just under smoking.  Cook the goat cheese rounds quickly on both sides until browned on the outside but not melted inside.  Top each salad with 2 warm rounds and serve.

The finished product, Warmed Goat Cheese Salad
Tips:
  • The easiest way to slice the goat cheese is with a strand of dental floss.  Using a knife will crush the cheese.
  • I found that browning the cheese on each side for 30 seconds worked well.  Any less, and the bread crumbs weren't browned and any longer, the cheese started to melt.  
Recipe from the Food Network, Ina Garten