Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: On our trip to Paris in January, I found myself enamored of a dish I hadn’t particularly considered to be French, but that turns out to be one of the unsung classics: the warm goat cheese salad. We had it several ways, with the goat cheese fried into croutons, chunks of goat cheese dropped warm into the salad, and rinded goat cheese melted onto slices of baguette, like crostini, laid on top of the greens.

Use a firm goat cheese. The trick to frying it is to get the oil and butter mixture really hot, almost to the point that you’re afraid of it. One trick is to stick the end of a chopstick or a wooden spoon into the oil; if it bubbles around the stick, it’s hot enough. Keep the cheese in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. It’s the shock of the cold cheese in the hot fats that forms the lovely crisp crust while keeping the cheese itself from melting.

I’m still working on recreating the honey dressing with toasted walnuts. This creamy vinaigrette, based on Ina Garten’s version of the salad, is equally lovely. The original recipe called for two eggs, using the whites in the cheese croutons and one yolk in the dressing; if you’re not sure you’ll use the other yolk quickly, use them both. A cup of oil seems like a lot, but it’s not. Use a small food processor or an immersion blender, and the emulsion won’t separate. If you’ve got extra, stash it in the fridge for a few days and use it on other salads. 

The recipes I found claimed the necessity of fresh bread crumbs, not dried like Panko. I used a small food processor to grind up 2-3 slices of a country-style bread and that worked well. 

We had it served with mixed greens and with frisees, or curly endive. Use what you have and like. 

Serve with more of that country bread and a glass of a crisp white wine. 

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

1 10-12 ounce log plain goat cheese
2 extra-large egg whites, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Fresh white bread crumbs

For the dressing: 

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
a pinch of sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 egg yolks 
1 cup olive oil

Salad greens for 6 servings
Olive oil and unsalted butter, for frying

Slice the goat cheese into 12 slices, ½ inch thick, using a clean sharp knife or kitchen twine. Dip each slice into the beaten egg whites, then into the bread crumbs, thoroughly coating each slice. Place the slices on a plate or rack and chill them for at least 15 minutes.

For the dressing, put the vinegars, sugar, salt, pepper, and egg yolk in the bowl of your food processor or the mixing container for your immersion blender. Begin blending and slowly pour in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is thickened. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Toss the salad greens with enough dressing to moisten, then divide them among 6 plates.

In a saute pan, melt 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat until very hot. Cook the goat cheese rounds quickly on both sides until browned on the outside but not melted inside. Top each salad with 2 warm croutons and serve.

Serves 6. 

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and is now nominated for a Macavity award; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. This is a delicious salad.
    Try cutting the cheese with unflavored dental floss. It works well.

    1. Ina Garten's recipe suggested floss but I haven't tried it yet -- thanks for the tip.

  2. I've eaten warm goat cheese salad at restaurants and wondered how they managed to make the goat cheese. Thanks for the recipe, Leslie.