Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baked goat cheese and mesclun (p. 160) and Spicy walnut vinaigrette (p. 574)

I haven't been making much progress on the entree salad section of TJOC. I'm guessing it's because we tend not to have a lot of fresh salad veggies in the fridge and lettuce seems to go bad so quickly. I thought Baked goat cheese and mesclun (p. 160) sounded tasty.

I cut a log of goat cheese into slices, coated them in olive oil and breadcrumbs, and then baked them until they were bubbling.

I mixed baby mixed greens and chopped herbs (parsley and tarragon), tossed them with a vinaigrette, and placed a round of goat cheese on the top.

The salad was good, although I'm not sold big chunks of herbs in salads. The cheese was nice and creamy and lent a nice contrast to the acidity of the vinaigrette. Goat cheese tends to be rather expensive and I thought this was a pretty good use of it.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned since starting TJOTJOC is that salad dressing is much better when it's homemade and is really, really fast and easy to make. I had the ingredients for Spicy walnut vinaigrette (p. 574) so I decided to make a batch. I whisked a shallot, balsamic vinegar, minced walnuts, Dijon mustard, a touch of salt, and a bit of hot pepper sauce together. I then added walnut oil and olive oil slowly to the mixture.

Sorry about this picture--it's probably one of the worst I've ever taken:

This dressing was a really nice, well-rounded vinaigrette. It was pretty acidic, but that's typically for a vinaigrette. I thought the walnuts added a nice crunch and the walnut oil gave the dressing a different flavor base than I'm used to (I usually just stick with olive oil or the occasional peanut oil).

I still think that blue cheese dressing is my favorite salad dressing, although my head can be turned by a nice vinaigrette. I tend to find Ranch dressing extremely boring. What is your favorite dressing? Do you make it or buy it? I used to adore this 5-Cheese salad dressing that Wishbone disconnected--it was amazing on artichoke hearts.

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