Authors Tracey Medeiros and Christy Colasurdo, on Salad of Mixed Baby Greens and Beltane Farm Goat Cheese:
This refreshing salad has a nice lingering tanginess from the goat cheese croutons.
The source for this recipe is Union League Cafe, described by the authors as “one of Connecticut’s most enduringly romantic and lavishly lauded restaurants.” Chef-owner Jean-Pierre “JP” Vuillermet and his staff serve French cuisine sourced from local organic produce, fish, meats, and artisanal cheeses. JP notes: “Sourcing from local farms and suppliers goes back to my roots in France. You had to have this network if you wanted to work with fresh ingredients and feature what was truly seasonal from the region.”
Several ingredients immediately attracted me to this recipe: baby greens (they’re my favorite for any salad)*; beautiful radishes (two varieties); olives (for the husband, if I’m being honest); and (hold the phone!) mini baguette slices topped not only with cheese but with my favorite — goat cheese. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t procure goat cheese from Beltane Farm, but if you’re in Connecticut, lucky you!
Looking at the cookbook photo and my photos, you may spot some differences. Aside from the fact that my photos are decidedly nonprofessional (let’s overlook that, please), another difference is that I have two different types of “cheese croutons.” I made the toasted baguette slices with goat cheese, but I also tried coating rounds of goat cheese in panko and pan-frying them, as I’d read somewhere, in some recipe, earlier in the week. I’d been looking for an excuse to try the second version. I loved both, though I think the baguette slices gave more substance to the salad overall.
Also, I realized later that the recipe itself did not actually include the radishes. I admit that I was too busy enjoying the salad and didn’t even notice the missing radishes until later, but I am absolutely using several varieties next time. I like the idea of the pop of color and crunch and taste. Also, as I look at the photos, it seems that I added shaved Parmesan cheese. How’d that happen? I’m hoping maybe Chef Vuillermet would be OK with that…
*The ingredients list specifies “mesclun greens.” What are those, you may be asking? This is simply the phrase used in Provence, France, for a mix of small young salad greens. But “mesclun” does sound fancier, doesn’t it?
Many thanks to publisher The Countryman Presshere (contest ends 6/21/15).The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook: 150 Home-Grown Recipes from the Nutmeg State. Be sure to enter the giveaway
Salad of Mixed Baby Greens and Beltane Farm Goat Cheese
Featured Recipe From: The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook: 150 Home-Grown Recipes from the Nutmeg State
Yield: Serves 4
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
8 ounces goat cheese such as Danse de la Lune
2 (5-ounce) bags mesclun greens
2 tablespoons chopped black olives
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Whisk in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the basil. Set aside.
3. Cut the baguette into 1/4- inch-thick slices (three slices per person). Place on a baking sheet and brush each slice with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
4. Slice the goat cheese into 1/4- inch-thick rounds and place on top of each baguette slice. Place under the broiler and broil until the cheese starts to brown, about 5 minutes.
5. In a large bowl, toss the mesclun mix with the olives and dressing.
6. To serve: Arrange the salad in the middle of a large plate or platter. Place the goat cheese “croutons” around the plate. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve at once.
Source: Union League Cafe
© 2015 Tracey Medeiros and Christy Colasurdo
Reprinted with permission from The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook: 150 Home-Grown Recipes from the Nutmeg State, by Tracey Medeiros and Christy Colasurdo (The Countryman Press)