After a week in Las Vegas, and after the sensational savory dishes and luscious desserts we had at SW Steakhouse alone, it’s definitely time to detox. I can’t say that it’s time to go on a diet because that’s too depressing just as it’s going on a scale after a week of intense binge eating. (To be brutally honest, just hearing the words diet or scale makes me cringe). If only we had eaten until we were satisfied; or maybe until we were full; but no, we had to go the extra mile and stuff ourselves to the point of bursting. The history repeats itself every time we’re in Las Vegas. We never learn…
Have I ever mentioned that I went on a diet only once in my life? Yes, it was a long time ago and it involved eating a limpid onion soup with black olives and carrots. It didn’t sound too bad except for the fact that you were supposed to eat the same tasteless soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 10 days. So, on day one, I was ecstatic at breakfast, I survived through lunch, but my soup was down the drain by dinner. I ended my first and last diet the day I started it. I should have realized that something was dubious about it since you were supposed to lose 10 kilograms in 10 days – that’s 22 pounds in 10 days! I know, I know – what was I thinking, right? Well, apparently I wasn’t… Anyway, enough about diets!
Now, we do have to detox our bodies and turn to greeneries. The bright side about that is that it’s summer, a time to eat… lighter. For me that means going for a nice summery Warm Goat Cheese Salad.
I love this salad! It’s leafy, light, bright and fully satisfying. The best part about it is that the warm pan fried goat cheese is crispy, creamy and tangy, and acts as the meaty element of this dish. You don’t even need meat. You can savor this salad as it is, simple, just the mixed greens, goat cheese, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic, for a lighter version; or, what I like to do is dress it up and make it extra special, heartier, and more colorful by adding sliced crunchy cucumbers, plump cherry tomatoes, briny kalamata olives, dried chewy cranberries, and toasted sliced almonds. This way, you’re not only enhancing the colors of the salad, but you’re also enhancing the carnival of flavors and textures. This may be just a salad, but it can also be a substantial meal!
Warm Goat Cheese Salad
Adapted from Salad with Warm Goat Cheese by Barefoot Contessa
Serves: 6 servings
· 1 (11-ounce) log plain Montrachet goat cheese
· 2 large egg whites, beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
· Plain bread crumbs
· Extra virgin olive oil
· Balsamic vinegar
· Pinch of salt and black pepper
· Mixed greens, Romaine lettuce, arugula, spinach or any other salad greens that you prefer
· Optional: a few cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, sliced red pepper, dried cranberries, and toasted almonds
· 1 Tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil and 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, for frying
Slice the Montrachet into 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices using a length of sewing thread or dental floss. This is the easiest way to slice goat cheese. Dip each slice into the beaten egg whites, then the bread crumbs, being sure the cheese is thoroughly coated. Place each slice on a rack or plate and chill them for at least 15-20 minutes.
Divide the salad greens and the rest of the vegetables and nuts if using among 6 plates. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Melt 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the goat cheese rounds quickly on both sides until browned on the outside but not melted inside. Top each salad with 2 warm rounds of goat cheese, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and serve.
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)