Baked Goat Cheese Salad with Pecans and Radishes

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Post  Wed, Jul 26 2017, 4:24 pm
Elegant salad for fish or dairy meal

Excerpt From: America's Test Kitchen - Menu Cookbook

Baked Goat Cheese Salad with Pecans and Radishes

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Baked goat cheese salads are as popular today as they were when Alice Waters brought them into the limelight in the early 1970s, but most people only enjoy them in restaurants. We think they are a great accompaniment to our vegetarian pasta dinner, and the goat cheese rounds can be prepared the day before and baked at the last minute, making this a great recipe when entertaining. Coating the cheese rounds in ground nuts instead of the usual bread crumbs added a big boost of flavor, which our tasters loved. We also found that giving the cheese a whirl in the food processor allowed us to incorporate fresh herbs into the cheese. Baking the rounds in a blazing hot oven for just 7 to 10 minutes ensured a crunchy coating and a smooth, but not melted, interior. To avoid runny cheese rounds, be sure to freeze the rounds until completely firm (at least 2 hours) before baking.

Baked Goat Cheese Salad with Pecans and Radishes

You can substitute walnuts, pistachios, or almonds for the pecans. Don’t skimp on the goat cheese chilling time (in both steps 1 and 2) or the cheese will be very hard to work with.


1½ cups pecans (6 ounces)
12 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 large eggs
Vegetable oil spray


5 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
¹⁄8 teaspoon salt
Pinch pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 cups mesclun greens (12 ounces)
4 radishes, trimmed and sliced thin

1. FOR THE GOAT CHEESE: Pulse pecans in food processor until finely chopped, about 15 pulses; transfer to bowl. Process goat cheese, chives, and thyme in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate cheese mixture in covered bowl until firm, about 1 hour.

2. Roll chilled cheese mixture into eight 1¾-inch balls (generous 2 tablespoons each). Beat eggs in medium bowl. Dip each cheese ball into eggs, then roll in chopped nuts, pressing gently to adhere. Arrange balls, 2 inches apart, on baking sheet and press into ¾-inch-thick rounds with greased bottom of dry measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until completely firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.

3. FOR THE VINAIGRETTE AND SALAD: Whisk vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in oil. In large bowl, gently toss mesclun greens with radishes.

4. Adjust oven rack to top position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Unwrap cheese and coat lightly with oil spray. Bake until nuts are golden brown and cheese is warmed through, 7 to 10 minutes. Whisk vinaigrette to re-emulsify, then drizzle over greens and toss gently to coat. Divide salad among 8 individual plates, top with warm goat cheese, and serve immediately.

EVEN EASIER: Don’t have time to make baked goat cheese? Simply toss 1 cup crumbled goat cheese and ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans with the salad and vinaigrette before serving.
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