Friday, June 05, 2009

Learning to love goat cheese

I used to think I hated goat cheese. It wasn't the taste, really; I mean, I was pretty confident that if I held my nose while I ate it, I would enjoy it very much. Somehow, that pungent, "goaty" smell just turned me off, and I steered clear of all goat cheese recipes -- which always looked so delicious -- for years.

And I'm here to tell you that I not only put up with goat cheese, I love it. Don't ask me what changed; I guess I just decided to like it, and now I can't get enough of this creamy stuff.

This recipe was what really did it for me:
Goat cheese salad with beets and walnuts

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 5 small roasted beets,* peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
  • Lettuce, spring greens, beet greens, baby spinach -- whatever tender greens you have on hand


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, vinegar, orange juice, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Place beets in a small bowl. Pour 1/3 of the dressing over beets; toss to coat.
  2. Place walnuts in a shallow dish. With your hands, form goat cheese into 12 equal balls. Roll balls in walnuts, turning to coat completely, then flatten into discs.
  3. Place greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with remaining dressing, and toss to combine. Divide among plates, and top each serving with some of the sliced beets and 3 goat-cheese discs.
*TO ROAST BEETS: Wrap washed beets, with the skins still intact, in 2-3 packets of aluminum foil, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size, until beets are slightly soft to the touch. Cool in packets, then rub off skins.

Adapted from Great Food Fast

If you're like most people, you probably don't eat beets too often, either, so this recipe might actually get you hooked not only on goat cheese, but on this sweet, tender root vegetable as well.

Enjoy this late-spring meal with loved ones outside, with the breeze blowing through the backyard, light condensation forming on your iced tea glasses, and the sweet and tangy tastes of beets and goat cheese mingling in your mouth.

I highly recommend it.

Oh, and so does Mr. Incredible; actually, he's the expert in our house at preparing this salad (which is probably why the walnut-studded cheese medallions are so, well, perfect).

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