California Central Coast Recipes
Baked Goat Cheese on Baby Spinach Leaves with a Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
Baked Goat Cheese on a Bed of Baby Spinach Leaves with a Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette is one of our favorite salads. This salad is delicious year round, but it's especially good this time of year when the fresh lemons are at their peak. The Goat Cheese (many varieties are made locally ) is so delicious and when eaten warmed, it melts in your mouth and if you eat it slowly and it cools off to room temperature, it almost has a "cheesecake" consistency. What I like best about this salad, is that it's substantial enough to be both an appetizer AND salad on one plate!
The Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette is the French classic light fresh lemon vinaigrette for many types of salads. Itís very versatile. Dribble it over Baby Spring Mix, spinach or asparagus in place of hollandaise. Itís best when made fresh the same day.
Preparation time: 1 hour and 10 minutesCooking time: 10 minutes
8 ounces French-style Goat Cheese
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Plain dry breadcrumbs
2 bunches fresh Baby Spinach leaves , washed and stems trimmed
For the Vinaigrette
2 small cloves garlic crushed
Salt to taste
3 to 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
4 ripe Roma tomatoes , rinsed and sliced into rounds
2 Tablespoons Capers , rinsed
1 Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
For the Goat cheese-
2 Pour the Olive oil into a small bowl. In another small bowl, place the breadcrumbs.
3 Cut the cheese into four wedges (or the number of guests you'll be serving.)
4 Dip the cheese wedges into the olive oil, then roll each into the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for an hour or so.
5 Just before serving, bake the goat cheese in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly golden on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Do not over-bake!
For the Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
6 Pulverize the crushed garlic in a mortar and pestle with scant one-eighth teaspoon salt. Mash the garlic until it becomes almost liquid paste. Transfer to a glass measuring cup. Mix in the lemon juice and vinegar. Add the dry mustard. Beat well with spoon or small whisk.
7 Gradually beat in the extra-virgin olive oil. Add in the Italian seasoning and a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper.
8 Taste for tartness and salt. If needed, correct seasoning by adding more lemon juice or olive oil if too tart and salt if needed.
To serve the salad
9 On a dinner plate, place each wedge of goat cheese. Around the cheese, arrange the baby spinach leaves, slices of tomato and a teaspoon or two of capers.
10 Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette over the leaves, tomatoes, and capers. Serve immediately.
A good Californian young Chardonnay will go well with this.