Yield
Serves 4
This salad is a combination of simple elements: mesclun salad, warm goat cheese, roasted garlic and good, crusty bread: a perfect lunch. The garlic cloves, soft and puree-like from roasting, can be squeezed onto slabs of bread, along with the creamy goat cheese, to make an impromptu open-face sandwich as you eat the greens.

The basic formula lends itself to improvisation: you can replace the mesclun with other greens and dressings—dandelion with anchovy or bacon dressing, frisée with walnut oil for example—or throw in walnuts, cooked new potatoes, or roasted peppers. A variety of aged goat cheeses will work well. Pyramids, cones or three-sided logs especially lend themselves to appealingly shaped portions.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, preferably aged
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups (about 12 ounces) cleaned and dried mesclun, or other salad greens
  • 8 ounces mild goat cheese, such as Lingot or Montrachet, cut into 4 equal portions
  • 1/2 teaspoonfresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Slices of excellent, rustic bread, such as walnut, ciabatta, or sourdough, toasted if you like


Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and sherry vinegar, water, extra-virgin olive oil and a generous pinch salt. Place the greens in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over. Toss to coat, adding salt and pepper to taste. Divide the salad between 4 dinner plates.

2. Place the goat cheese in a small cast-iron skillet or a heavy baking pan and sprinkle the thyme and pepper to taste over each slice. Bake until the cheese is warmed through and soft but not collapsing, about 3 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula, place one slice of cheese directly on each portion of the greens along with one or two heads of Roasted Garlic. Pass the bread on the side.

Roasted Garlic
Serves 4

You can roast as many heads of garlic at once as you wish. Simply double or triple the recipe, wrapping no more than 4 large or 8 small heads in each package.

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Gently peel off the papery white skin from each head of garlic to reveal the cloves, without separating them. Place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil. Using a slightly dampened brush, brush with the olive oil, and nestle the thyme springs among them.

3. Dribble the water onto the foil. Pull the edges of the foil up and crimp tightly together to form a package. Place on a baking sheet.

4. Bake the garlic until the flesh is soft, about 34 to 45 minutes. To eat the garlic, pull off 1 clove at a time and squeeze the soft flesh out of the skin.

5. Roasted Garlic is best eaten or used when still warm.

Adapted from A New Way to Cook. Sally Schneider