Goat Cheese & Brie Provence Salad

21 Mar

I don’t dig goat cheese – at all. I’d even go as far as to say that I detest it. That can be a bummer when dining out as Vancouver restaurants seem to be absolutely, whole-heartedly, madly in love with goat cheese. It’s on pizza, in pasta, on burgers, and most definitely, in salads. Some people revel in the goat cheese revolution. I, on the other hand, cringe, gag and wish we were done with this particular fad.

Considering my intense dislike, I was incredibly shocked when I actually tried a goat cheese salad (a feat in itself) but, more importantly, that I enjoyed it *looks away, ashamed*. This particular salad was a Provence Salad that I made and ate in one of my Serious Foodie classes and it was, well, not bad at all! So for those who have the same reaction to goat cheese as what I do (I know there are at least a couple of you out there) this recipe is for you!

I have made this a few times now and the great thing about it is that you can adjust the goat cheese to brie ratio to amp it up for those who like it, or tone it down for those who don’t. The sweet dressing also seems to cut the gamey flavour of the cheese back slightly. I suggest serving this at a dinner party because it looks fancy and it is perfect for entertaining because you can do almost everything prior to your guests arriving. I always start by roasting the tomatoes before I start on anything. This way they are done and out of the way.

Making your own oven-roasted tomatoes couldn’t be simpler. Start by placing about half of a punnet of grape tomatoes, halved, onto a baking tray. Then toss them in a splash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in a 300F oven. Done. The rest comes together very quickly.

Baked Goat Cheese & Brie with Honey-Pepper & Rosemary Dressing – Serves 3

100 grams goat cheese
100 grams brie
About 40 grams of toasted walnuts, finely chopped
Sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
Small sprinkle of lemon zest
About 15 thinly sliced, bite-sized pieces of roasted red pepper
As many of the oven roasted tomato halves as you like (I usually stick to about 6 halves)
Mixed greens, washed
Juice of about 1/2 lemon
Splash of olive oil

Blend both cheeses together with the back of a spoon to form a cheesey paste. Divide into three servings and form each portion into a disk shape. First, roll into a ball and then, whilst cupping it in your hand, flatten the top and bottom so that you create a disk.

Spread the chopped walnuts, rosemary and lemon zest on a chopping board and roll each disk in the mixture until completely covered. Set aside on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until ready to use. Bake in the oven at 300F for 3 to 4 minutes, until just slightly warm.

Warm Honey Dressing:

3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup of water
Cracked pepper
A small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil

Method:
Combine honey, water, pepper, rosemary and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and simmer until the dressing is reduced back to a honey-like consistency. Take off the heat and whisk in the olive oil and lemon juice.

In a bowl, dress your green leaves with a splash of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon, and use your fingers to gentle toss the leaves. Grab a handful of the leaves and place in a mound in the middle of your serving plate. Start assembling the rest of the salad by adding a few of the roasted tomato halves and a few of the roasted red pepper strips to dress the greens. When the cheese disk has warmed, take it out of the oven and gently rest the warm baked cheese on top of the greens and drizzle the warm honey dressing over the cheese disk and lightly over the rest of the salad. Bon appétit!

Recipe courtesy of Chef Tony from Serious Foodie Course at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver.

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3 Responses to “Goat Cheese & Brie Provence Salad”

  1. Rommy Ghaly March 22, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Perfect for my Meatless Weekdays initiative. 🙂 Thanks!

    • greedyguts March 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

      You are very welcome! Let me know what you think.

  2. Kevin March 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    That looks good!

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