Frisee Salad with Goat Cheese Pillows

This salad is a classical French first course. "Frizzy-frisée" lettuce with toasted nuts, goat cheese pillows and a sweet vinaigrette to balance all the flavors.
The French usually use Crottins de Chavignol type of goat cheese for this salad. If you can find some it would be perfect, specially if you like your cheese to be a little tangy and sharper than the semi-soft versions widely available. I prefer the crottin but both work just fine. :)

The frisée lettuce texture is lighter and more airy than regular romaine lettuce with bitter edges. I include some honey and extra vinegar in the dressing to balance the greens' bitterness.

The toasted walnuts add crunch and their flavor pairs beautifully with the goat cheese.
You can of course play with the ingredients; change the type of nuts or variety of goat cheese.
If you want a gluten free salad, you can forget about the bread slices and replace the goat cheese toasts by goat cheese balls! ;)

Bon appétit! :)

 
 

Frisée Salad with Goat Cheese Pillows

Recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
Serves 4

Vinaigrette Ingredients
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Salt
Black pepper

Salad Ingredients
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
8 slices of french baguette
4 Crottins de Chavignol, sliced in two (or 8 slices of your favorite goat cheese)*
1 head of frisée lettuce, washed and leaves separated (usually you won't need to chop them)

Directions
Prep all the ingredients.
You will need one small baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a medium bowl and one small jar with a lid.

Turn the oven broiler to high.
Top each bread slice with goat cheese. Broil until lightly golden and just bubbly. (Be careful, the broiler is always tricky, keep a close eye on your toasts).

Make the dressing:
Put all the dressing ingredients in a small jar, close tightly with a lid and shake. Shake it like you mean it! Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the lettuce with half of the dressing.
Equally divide into 4 different plates. Top with toasted walnuts and two "goat cheese pillows". You can drizzle a little bit of additional dressing and finish with a crack of black pepper.

Bon appétit!

 

*tip about slicing goat cheese: Keep it refrigerated until ready to cut. Use a dental floss for easy slicing (not scented nor flavored...). It will help prevent the goat cheese pieces from collapsing and looking distorted.