Baked Goat Cheese with Garden Lettuces
We have kept this dish on the menu every day since we opened. We vary the accompaniment sometimes, according to what’s available, adding slices of ripe pear and watercress in the fall, for instance, or rocket leaves and hazelnut oil. Delicious as a first course, it can also be served after a meal, as a combination salad-and-cheese course. Our goat cheese is made for us in Sonoma County. Investigate fresh local goat cheeses in your area, or use a French chèvre.
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Courseappetizer, side dish, tapas/small plates
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecheesy, savory
Type of Dishfirst course salad, warm salad
- ½ pound fresh goat cheese (one 2 by 5-inch log)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
- ½ sour baguette, preferably a day old
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, or a combination
- ½ pound garden lettuces, washed and dried
Carefully slice the goat cheese into 8 disks about ½ inch thick. Pour the olive oil over the disks and sprinkle with the chopped herbs. Cover and store in a cool place for several hours or up to a week.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and dry out in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until dry and lightly colored. Grate into fine crumbs on a box grater or in a food processor. The crumbs can be made in advance and stored until needed.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. (A toaster oven works well.) Remove the cheese disks from the marinade and roll them in the bread crumbs, coating them thoroughly. Place the cheeses on a small baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes, until the cheese is warm.
Measure the vinegars into a small bowl and add a big pinch of salt. Whisk in the oil and a little freshly ground pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Toss the lettuces lightly with the vinaigrette and arrange on salad plates. With a metal spatula, carefully place 2 disks of the baked cheese on each plate and serve.
1999 Alice L. Waters