Oh, goat cheese. My dearest goat cheese. How I adore thee.
I’ve had goat cheese brain lately. Look it up; I swear it’s a real condition. My husband and I nearly drew swords at lunch in Chicago, when I couldn’t resist from ordering a salad, when we’d sat down with the intention of splitting a Chicago pizza. But there was goat cheese with the salad. Warm. Nut-Crusted. Goat Cheese.
The next day, I had it again. A huge mound of fluffy whipped goat cheese, served with a salad of mixed greens in herb vinaigrette with roasted golden beets and candied walnuts.
And here I am today, still salivating at the thought of goat cheese.
So, for today’s lunch, I made my own version of warm nut-crusted goat cheese on garlic toasts, which I served alongside a salad of mixed greens in a honey-balsamic vinaigrette with crumbled bacon and fresh raspberries. Heavenly lunch.
For the goat cheese, use a food processor to grind a bunch of walnuts until they reach a fine consistency. Cut a log of goat cheese into slices less than 1/2 inch thick. Running the knife under hot water prior to slicing will help the knife to glide through the soft cheese. Press the ground nuts onto both sides of the goat cheese rounds. Heat a bit of oil in a pan over medium heat. A vegetable or nut oil would work well. Place the nut-crusted goat cheese rounds in the pan and cook for a minute or two on each side until the nuts begin to brown and the cheese is slightly warmed.
For the garlic toasts, cut slices of bread. I used a French batard. Rub the bread with a cut garlic clove. Then, brush one side of each bread slice with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of salt. Place the bread slices under the broiler for a couple minutes until lightly toasted. Keep a close eye to prevent burning.
For the dressing, I made a basic balsamic vinaigrette with the addition of honey; about one part olive oil to two parts balsamic vinegar, a bit of dijon mustard, squeeze of honey, salt and pepper.
I added crumbled bacon and raspberries to my salad, but this dish would be equally delicious with many other additions, such as dried apricots, cherries, or cranberries, fresh pears or apples, chopped nuts, or prosciutto.