For this goat cheese salad, a fried cheese round adorns a salad of baby greens, olives, and walnuts that’s tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette.
There are different types of goat cheese, such as the delightfully named crottins de chèvre, but for this recipe it’s better to use the bûche, or log-shaped cheeses. There is a wonderfully earthy taste to good goat cheese, which mixes beautifully with really fresh salad leaves, crunchy walnuts, and good, spicy olives.–Joanne Harris and Fran Warde
LC GOAT CHEESE GALORE NOTE
And if you find yourself with a little leftover goat cheese, well, certainly you know that you can schmear it on bagels and baguettes, mash it with arugula or sorrel or herbs and serve it with crostini, whisk it into frittatas, dollop it on tomato tarts, sandwich it with avocado and sprouts between slices of hearty seven-grain bread, drizzle it with honey…
Goat Cheese Salad
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard such as Meaux
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad
- 10 ounces log-shaped goat cheese the best you can find
- 6 baguette slices
- 8 cups mixed salad greens (mesclun)
- 4 ounces black Niçoise olives pitted
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- Heat the broiler.
- Cut the goat cheese into six equal rounds and put one on top of each slice of baguette. Put them on the broiler rack but do not broil yet.
- Put the vinegar, mustards, and salt and pepper in a covered jar and shake vigorously until smooth. Add the olive oil and shake again to blend. Pour the dressing into a mixing bowl, add the greens, olives, and walnuts, and toss well.
- Put the baguettes with cheese under the broiler and cook for 2 minutes until the cheese is coloring and bubbling.
- Serve at once on a bed of dressed greens.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a basic, light salad with a mustard dressing. Things really get bumped up with the cider vinegar, and the two types of mustard add a little extra bite. I tried two types of goat cheese, one from a cheese company in Utah and one from Spain. The Utah cheese was very earthy and the Spanish one was smooth, almost buttery. While each added a special character, they both melded very well with the olives and walnuts to make the ideal hot summer evening supper. This was so near-perfect that the only thing I’d possibly do next time is experiment with some different cheeses and maybe some other nuts.
OK. Let me just start by saying that this is a terrific salad, perfectly serviceable and edible and it tastes great. But how is it that no one has EVER suggested smearing goat cheese on a slice of baguette and calling it a crouton? That alone takes this from terrific to amazing.
Honestly, waiting for those little uber-croutons to toast was the hardest thing I did all week. But SO worth it. Warm, crunchy, chewy, cheesy. Honestly. I’m just wasting your time explaining it—go make this salad.
The dressing is excellent, sweet, and tangy, but not too much oil. I prefer a vinegar-heavy dressing so I did end up adding a little more but the first version of the dressing was smooth—just not vinegary enough for me and my acid-loving taste buds. I used a mix of baby lettuce and spinach with some leftover Boston lettuce thrown in, and it all stood up nicely to the dressing and croutons. The only change I made was to substitute pepitas in my own salad, because of a tree nut allergy. My guest had the walnuts and liked it but I think the pepitas were pretty good too.
I love the simplicity of this goat cheese salad all around. The dressing is a cinch with a handful of ingredients and a shake of the jar. The olives add a nice brininess and the walnuts add a welcome crunch. I chose to toast the walnuts because I think it brings out their flavor. The goat cheese “toast” was like a prize. The baguette had a light crunch and the creamy goat cheese was glorious! This salad is a keeper.
Originally published May 8, 2003