First things first: I love goat cheese. I’m talking love-sonnet-writing, mountaintop-shouting levels of love here. I honestly can’t think of any food that wouldn’t go well with goat cheese. So, when I was informed in the early weeks of my pregnancy that soft cheeses were a no-no (unless you’re absolutely *sure* they’re pasteurized), I was crushed. My pediatrician sister-in-law Candice did tell me, however, that as long as the cheese was cooked, it was fine.
Now, let me also tell you what happens if you grab some goat cheese and try to cook it. You know, like on the stove or in the microwave. It melts. So I was at a bit of a loss as to how one would cook goat cheese. Until Ben and I went out to dinner at Carlyle in Arlington, VA. It was here I discovered the warm goat cheese and spiced pecan salad. This salad was seriously amazing. And we returned to Carlyle more than once during my pregnancy so I could keep getting it! But now that we’ve moved away and there are no Great American Restaurants nearby, we’ve had to improvise.
After searching online for a recipe for warm goat cheese and reviewing the Carlyle menu, we’ve recreated this recipe multiple times to happy palates. And for those of you who share my love of goat cheese, this is your lucky day, because this one’s a good one!
- 4-6 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup pecans (approximately)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Craisins (or other dried cranberries)
- Warm goat cheese:
- One log goat cheese
- 1-2 egg whites, beaten
- 1-2 cups bread crumbs
- Oil and butter
1. Cut goat cheese log into half-inch slices (easiest with dental floss). Dip each slice in the beaten egg whites, then dip them in the bread crumbs until they are completely covered. Place the slices on a rack and chill them for at least 15 minutes.
2. Pour a few tablespoons of sugar into a frying pan and add in pecans. Turn burner on medium-high and stir constantly until sugar is melted and pecans are coated. Turn off heat and stir until cool (otherwise they’ll stick to the pan).
3. Cut cherry tomatoes into halves and combine with mixed greens and Craisins. Add in pecans once cool.
4. Melt about a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat until just under smoking. Cook the goat cheese rounds quickly on both sides until browned on the outside but not melted inside.
5. Add cheese rounds to salad and serve with balsamic vinaigrette or similar dressing.
Post-pregnancy, I’ve tried this without cooking the goat cheese (since it’s probably the most time-consuming part), but it really makes a difference having it warm. Also, as we just made this again tonight, it’s easy to burn the cheese rounds if you don’t have enough oil/butter in the pan. But even a little burnt, they are still delish.
Seriously my favorite salad ever!