My family doesn’t eat out very often, however, there is a salad at a local restaurant which I am “over the moon” in love with. I mean, I could probably eat it every day and never get sick of it. It’s made of field greens with tomatoes and cucumber, caramelized nuts, drizzled with a wonderful balsamic vinaigrette. Three warm, breaded goat cheese rounds are the crowning glory!
I often make a “copycat” version of this salad at home, and have to say, it’s pretty darn fantastic. (Not to mention I can make it for about 1/8th of the cost of what I’d pay at that restaurant!)
Try it and see what you think. If you’re not a goat cheese fan, you can substitute chicken tenders (see photo below) or omit them completely for a vegan salad.
Mixed Green Salad and Warm Breaded Goat Cheese with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Inspired by Aroma Cafe, Studio City’s menu (serves 2)
For the vinaigrette: I used Epicurious’ recipe
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste (at least 1/4 tsp of salt)
For the caramelized nuts:
- 2 oz pecans or walnuts
- 1 oz (1/4 stick) butter
- 1 oz brown sugar
For the goat cheese rounds:
- 2 to 4 slices of goat cheese about 1/2″ thick
- 1 egg, beaten with a sprinkle of salt
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs mixed with:
- 2 pinches each of thyme, herbes de provence, and parsley (herbes de provence is optional)
- salt and pepper
For the salad:
- 5 ounces of mixed leaf greens
- 1 small cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, and cut into small slices
- 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, cut into small pieces
VINAIGRETTE: Make the vinaigrette by placing the garlic, mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a 2 cup glass measuring jug. While whisking the ingredients, slowly pour in the olive oil, continuously whisking until all the oil is used up and the vinaigrette is thick. Set aside.
CARAMELIZED NUTS: Place the nuts, butter and brown sugar in a non stick pan.
Stir continuously for a few minutes until the mixture is melted and caramelizes. Remove from pan and place on a sheet of aluminum foil to cool and harden.
GOAT CHEESE ROUNDS: Slice the goat cheese with dental floss, to make nice, clean slices. Dip the slices into the beaten egg, and then the herbed breadcrumbs.
Fry the goat cheese over medium heat with a little olive oil, until brown on both sides. Place on paper towel lined plate and set aside for a moment.
Make sure to wash your lettuce.
I love my OXO salad spinner! I was offered another when I lost my old one (I left it at an event I was catering), but I only wanted OXO because it works so well.
Now put the mixed greens in serving plates or bowls and top with tomatoes and cucumber.
Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Finally, top each salad with some caramelized nuts and one or two goat cheese rounds, and serve with some delicious, crusty homemade bread.
I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do!
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