Salade de Chévre Chaud, or warm goat cheese salad, is one of my favorite meals when in France. And it's something I don't make nearly enough when at home. But with a garden spilling over in lettuces and a log of French chévre in the refrigerator, it seemed a natural choice for my mid-day meal.
My salad was very basic -- just my fresh garden lettuces, the breaded goat cheese disks and a vinaigrette made with my best olive oil and minced fresh tarragon from the garden. It really didn't need anything more. But I've eaten this salad many times with tomatoes, walnuts and lardons, as well. You can make it what you want it to be.
To make the salad... Cut disks of goat cheese about 1/2-inch thick. (I use sewing thread to slice my cheese to avoid crumbling of the goat cheese. ) I plan two slices of goat cheese per salad serving. Dip the disks of goat cheese into a beaten egg, covering the disks completely. Fill a shall bowl with fine, fresh bread crumbs. Add the disks to the crumbs, turning gently until both sides and edges of the goat cheese are lightly coated with the crumbs. Place the breaded disks on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350ˆF until the bottom of the disks have turned a gold brown. Flip the disks and bake a bit longer, until bottoms again are golden. Toss lettuces with vinaigrette. For my vinaigrette (enough for two servings), I mixed about 3/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and some minced fresh tarragon with equal amounts of red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide dressed lettuces between two plate and top each salad with two disks of the baked goat cheese. Add additional (and optional) ingredients of toasted walnuts, tomatoes and bacon, if desired.
There have been a few additions to our vegetable garden. This spring we planted a Honey Crisp apple espalier which was placed at the back of our yard and vegetable gardens. The grape vines crawling on our fence were pruned back to frame the espalier.
We also planted two sour cherry trees that were not purchased as espaliers. If you desire to train fruit trees as espaliers, it is ideal to purchase the plant as a bare root whip. We, however, purchased young trees and are, for that reason, very limited in what we will be able to achieve. Our cherry trees will be fanned espaliers instead of the more traditional espaliers of horizontal branches. When we finally got around to the initial trimming of branches this spring, the trees had dropped their white blooms and were covered with tiny green cherries. Truly, between the two trees I would have had enough fruit for a sour cherry double crust pie (sigh...). My husband and I traded off clipping of the branches because it was too painful seeing the cherries fall to the ground. I was also informed yesterday by a friend, who is also a residential landscaper, that it's every other year when you receive a bountiful crop of cherries from your trees. I took that to mean that I probably won't be making that sour cherry double crust pie next year, either...
I think my nick-name could be, "Basil Farmer"
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