As the year winds down and my cooking becomes increasingly root vegetable-heavy, I find myself craving bright, fresh flavors. The day after Thanksgiving, I make a salad of romaine, cold Bartlett pears cut into slivers, toasted pecans and baked goat cheese, a bright meal in the midst of a dark winter’s night. The shallot dressing with red wine vinegar and Dijon adds a pop of acidity. Adding some orange zest and a teaspoon of orange juice to the dressing would also be lovely, as would some chunks of avocado.
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Dijon
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 ounce log of goat cheese
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 4 leaves of romaine lettuce, washed and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 firm Bartlett or Anjou pear, cut into bite size pieces (I like to slice in half, then each half into four slivers, then cut into pieces on an angle)
- ½ cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the top third of the oven.
- To make the dressing, whisk together shallots, red wine vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. As you whisk, slowly pour in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Set aside.
- Cover a half sheet pan in parchment paper. Combine panko breadcrumbs, thyme, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Gently press each slice of goat cheese in the mixture, flip, and press again to coat, then place on the prepared sheet tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese rounds begin to turn light brown.
- While goat cheese is baking, arrange romaine on two plates, then tuck in pear slivers and scatter with pecans. Give the dressing a whisk if separated then pour dressing on top.
- Using a metal spatula, gently lift the goat cheese rounds and place on top of the salads. Serve immediately.