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Meatless Monday: Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Pears and Walnuts

Last week when I was at the grocery store picking up my mozzarella for my risotto balls, I happened to glance in Goat Cheese’s direction.

Cheese of the goat

It was just sitting there, calling out for me. Some might call it fate. And what do you do with fate?

You fry it.

Exception to the rule

Now, I know last week I said fried food wasn’t really my thang, but that doesn’t include cheese. Cheese is always the exception.

Goat cheese is a “love-or-hate-it” kinda food. I happen to love the creamy, tangy, grassy cheese. LOVE. And I was flipping through my big Bon Appetit cookbook and stumbled upon this recipe.

It’s the perfect, decadent meal for Monday, because when everything else is miserable, at least your plate of food isn’t! (I’ve got a bad case of the Mondays, can you tell?)

Feel free to play around with it. The recipe calls for endive, but I just used a mixed green salad. I love endive, though, and think it’s a wonderful addition. Use pecans instead of walnuts or apples instead of pears. Use EVOO instead of walnut oil. Use panko instead of bread crumbs (I did!).

And if you’re serving this for more than one person, well, put an extra fried goat cheese round on top of your plate. You deserve it.

Happy eating!

What You Need (Serves 4):

  • 1 1/4 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 11 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, cut into 8 rounds
  • 1 egg, beaten to blend
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 8 cups mixed baby greens
  • 2 heads Belgian endive, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large ripe pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

What You Do

  1. Mix breadcrumbs and thyme in glass pie dish. Season goat cheese with salt and pepper. Dip cheese into beaten egg, then into breadcrumbs, coating completely. cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead.)
  2. Whisk vinegar and mustard in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine mixed greens, Belgian endive and pears in large bowl.
  3. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts and sauté until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate using slotted spoon. Reduce heat to medium. Working in batches, add cheese rounds to skillet and cook until crisp and brown on outside and soft on inside, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Toss salad with enough dressing to coat. Divide among 4 plates. Using metal spatula, place 2 cheese rounds in center of each salad. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Perfect Monday dinner

Sunday Sneak Peek: Baked Pasta

This Sunday’s sneak peek is a bit of a bore. It was the fuzzy, purgatory time between when my old camera died and the purchase of my new rebel. Hence, horrible photos taken with my brother’s iPhone

*Note: before I get an angry phone call from him, I should note that these photos aren’t horrible, as they’re taken with newest iPhone’s camera which is supposedly some great thing. I don’t know. I don’t do smart phones.

This pasta recipe comes from one of my acquired cookbooks from Bon Appetit editor Lorna. Find out what makes it amazing tomorrow.

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