Toasted Goat Cheese Salad with Mesclun Lettuces and Edible Flowers
Photo by Thomas J. Story for Kitchen Gypsy.
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 large sprigs of fresh thyme
4 large sprigs of fresh oregano
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
12 ounces fresh goat cheese log, 1 1/2-inch diameter cut into 6 disks, 3/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 large handfuls of mesclun or mixed salad greens
1 1/2 cups homemade dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup edible flowers, marigolds, nasturtiums, rose petals, borage
Place the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until warm. With the back of your chef's knife, tap the sprigs of herbs to bruise the stems and release the flavor. Add the herbs thyme, oregano and rosemary to the oil and remove from the heat. Let the oil cool. Place the goat cheese rounds in a single layer in a baking dish and pour two-thirds of the oil over them. Reserve the remaining oil. Marinate the cheese in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Combine the mustard, garlic, and red wine vinegar. Add the reserved olive oil and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper.
Season the bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Remove the goat cheese from the oil and coat with the bread crumbs. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until the cheese is bubbling slightly around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes.
Toss the vinaigrette with the mesclun greens. Arrange the greens on a salad plate and place the cheese in the center. Sprinkle the flowers over the mesclun greens and coarsely cracked black pepper onto the top of the goat cheese. Serve right away.