Springing Forward

With March upon us, spring is starting to approach ever so slightly. The temperature is already noticeably warmer and the air is even starting to smell spring like; I’m thriving! The lovely warm and clear weather from the past few days put me in a mood for something light, something fresh and palate cleansing. Initially, I thought about making a meal out of bread and cheese but I was craving something green, too. I looked around the cheese shop, searching for inspiration as I closed for the evening. My eye caught a bottle of Monmarte, a French sparkling white wine, and my mind started to think Parisian. I remembered a delicious starter salad with fried goat cheese that I tasted while in Paris a few years ago. The two seemed like a logical pairing and so I decided on dinner.

I have a deep affinity for sparkling white wines, Prosecco being my favorite for its crisp clean taste and small bubbles. This Monmarte is quite comparable; clean with small bubbles but with distinctive fruit and a lovely dry finish. As you might already know from my post on Midnight Moon, I also have a deep affection for goat cheese. It’s most often my preferred choice so when I remembered that delicious goat cheese salad, I figured it would make for the quick and light dinner I coveted. When I got home I raided my pantry and fridge and pulled out any enticing ingredients as I went along. From the fridge I pulled out a cucumber, an egg, mixed greens, some leftover cooked bacon, roasted walnut oil and some garlic stuffed green olives. The pantry selection included a can of artichoke hearts, a shallot, and bread crumbs. I snacked on the garlic stuffed olives while I prepare dinner and in less than twenty minutes I sat down to a delightful salad with a refreshing glass of wine.

Parisian Inspired Green Salad with Fried Chèvre
Two light servings

4 large handfuls of mixed greens, torn
½ cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
½ shallot, thinly sliced
5 canned artichoke hearts, quartered
4 slices of bacon, chopped
Roasted walnut oil
1 small log of Vermont Creamery fresh chèvre
1 large egg, beaten
About 4 TBSP of bread crumbs
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

In a large bowl combine mixed greens, cucumber, shallot, artichoke hearts, and bacon. Set aside.

In a cast iron or nonstick pan heat about four tablespoons pure olive oil. To maintain a clean cut use a thread or unwaxed dental floss cut chèvre log into quarters. Dip the chèvre quarters into the beaten egg and then into the salted and peppered breadcrumbs until fully coated. Add breaded chèvre to hot pan and cook until golden brown, two to three minutes per side. Set on a paper towl.

Drizzle salad with roasted walnut oil and toss until fully coated, split between two pasta bowls and top with with warm fried chèvre and sea salt. Garnish with two garlic stuffed olives if desired. 

I typically only dress my salads with a good extra virigin olive oil and some sea salt or crushed red pepper so I found the roasted walnut oil to be a delicious and light dressing for this salad. If you prefer a heavier dressed salad feel free to make a vinaigrette of your choice instead. I recommend staying away from dairy based dressings and keeping with a classic French vinaigrette or a lemon citronette.

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