When I got home, I knew immediately I needed that salad in my life. Below is my best attempt to recreate it, which my husband agreed was pretty darn close.
Herb Crusted Warm Goat Cheese Salad
with Apples and Dijon Dressing
- Romaine and Butter Lettuce, or your favorite mixed greens
- One small roll of goat cheese
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary (use fresh if you prefer)
- 1 tsp. dried thyme (use fresh if you prefer)
- Triscuts or whole wheat crostini
- One golden delicious apple or similar, washed
- One ripe roma tomato, washed
- Optional - boiled egg, as per photo (I omitted this on my at home version)
- 1-2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. + champagne vinegar
- 1-2 tsp. + high quality olive oil
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash all lettuce and allow to dry as you prep remaining ingredients.
Measure out rosemary and thyme. Using a sharp knife, mince herbs together - you may need to cover the herbs with one hand, as the dried herbs tend to scatter when being minced.
Open goat cheese and slice into rounds about 1/4" to 1/2" thick. (On a 4 oz roll, I was able to get six slices, but with careful slicing you may get up to eight. Of course the original version gave you much more cheese, as you can see in the above photo, but ... you know, calories and such.)
Lay out Triscuts or crostini on a cookie sheet, one for each slice of goat cheese. (I used Triscuts as the bread they used for this in France was textured somewhat like a Triscut, however any type of bread sliced and toasted like a crostini will do). Gently dip the top of each slice of goat cheese in the minced herbs and lay the cheese on your Triscut/crostini, herb side up - cheese need not be entirely covered in herbs, just a dusting will do. When the oven is fully warmed, place cookie sheet in oven and allow cheese to warm through. Be sure to keep a careful eye on the cheese - you want it softened, but not melted. It may take 5-10 minutes, possibly more.
Measure out dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. I eyeballed the portions, and prefer a more vinegar based dressing, hence the loose measurements above. You can easily adjust to your personal taste preferences, including using a different type of vinegar. However, always err on the low side with the mustard ... I learned the hard way that a little goes a loooong way in this salad, so you don't want to overdo it.
Keep an eye on your cheese to ensure it's warming properly.
Ensure lettuce is dry. Chop lettuce and arrange on plate. Core and dice apple, placing on top of lettuce. Slice tomato in rounds and set around edges of plate. If you chose to include the hard boiled egg, slice in rounds and set on top of tomatoes.
When the cheese is warmed to your liking, remove from oven and place around edges of plate. Give dressing one last whisk and drizzle over top of salad and apples.
Serve with a fresh, sliced baguette if you prefer. (That's what they did in France, but I was so full with just salad that I didn't even bother with the bread.)
Enjoy! But - don't forget to get a bit of warm cheese, apple and lettuce all in one bite to really experience the full effect of this salad. Of course, mushing some of the warm cheese into the cracker and eating that is also delicious ... :-)
NOTE: One large apple, 1/2 head of romaine, less than 1/2 large head butter lettuce and a 4 oz roll of goat cheese yielded a large salad for both myself and my husband. With just the salad as noted above, no bread or hard boiled egg, we were stuffed.