Saturday, 26 May 2012

Baked goats cheese salad

Dear blog,

I'm so sorry I've neglected you this past month. You see, in an attempt to better myself, I decided to study, which is the reason you exist. But then study took over, leaving you to fester like all the other impulse fads and buys.

But unlike the toasted sandwich maker and the jumpers I never knew I had, I like you too much to push to the back of the cupboard to make friends with the moths and mold, and there's a multitude of cooking to tell you about...

Baked goats cheese salad for a baked spring day

With the mercury pushing 30c, and my Nicole Kidman-esque complexion drinking in the Vitamin D, the choice of dinner is a tough one.

Anything carby, creamy and generally heavy is a no - eating should be a pleasure, not a workout - and I've never been a big fan of salads, as the 'on trend' ingredient of choice is always rocket, which I can't stand.

However, a recent trip to Bath for Miss C's birthday significantly changed my outlook.

At the Riverside Cafe, a lovely little venue nestled in the cliffs overlooking the river, the birthday girl opted for a warm goats cheese salad, which as you can see looked great, and is even making me salivate looking at it now.

Being the incredible generous girl that she is, I was allowed a teaspoon sized portion and it tasted superb.

So, with renewed appetite and desire to sample a full sized portion, I created my own version, for which you will need:

2 whole goats cheeses (similar size to the above)
2 beetroot balls (ready prepared is fine)
1 spring onion finely chopped
2 generous handfuls of iceberg lettuce
1 generous handful of lambs lettuce

1 handful of fine green beans
1 small sweet potato, diced into 1cm cubes

Dash of balsamic vinegar
pinch of paprika
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon

The method

Begin by heating oil in a roasting tin in the oven at 220c. When it's reached the heat, add in your diced sweet potato, sprinkle on the paprika, and cook for 40 mins. This are going to be your croutons.

Ten minutes from the end, add your goats cheese to the oven to warm through and make gorgeously gooey .

Now, heat a frying pan with a generous knob of butter and add your spring onions to gently sweat on a low heat for a few minutes (this takes the edge off them, and makes conversation afterwards bearable!). In the mean time, assemble your plate with the lettuce leaves, ripped and evenly shared between the two plates, drizzling the balsamic vinegar over. Slice your beetroot and lay to the side of the salad.

Remove spring onions from the pan and place on top of the salad leaves - I really like the mix of warm and cool ingredients in a salad, hope you do too. In the same pan, toss the fine green beans to coat them in the warm butter for all of a minute to retain their structure, season then artistically place around the dish. By this point the goats cheese and the sweet potato should be ready so remove these from the oven, placing the goats cheese atop the leaves and the 'croutons' to one side. Squeeze the lemon juice over and you should have something that looks like this...

Goats cheese and beetroot is a classic combination. The green beans add the crunch texture, with the sweet potato croutons adding a bit of substance to reduce the likelihood of 'I'm still hungry' syndrome. The lemon and the balsamic bring the sour and sharpness to tie it all together. A perfect supper..or lunch for that matter...for a very warm day, 

So, I have discovered a salad I can get on board with, and reaquainted with an old friend. It's nice to be back.

No comments:

Post a Comment