Two of my favorite things

Goat cheese and sweet cherries.

Combine them both in a leafy green salad dressed with a simple homemade vinaigrette and it's heaven on a plate!

With temperatures in the high 90's and even reaching 100 a few times, it's been too blazing hot here in the Carolinas to cook, let alone eat, so my meals have consisted mainly of salads or light snacks. Many thanks to a back issue of Bon Appetit magazine for giving me the idea to pair two of my most favorite things!

Enjoy and stay cool...oh, and even though the recipe says you can prepare the goat cheese ahead of time, don't. It only takes a few minutes and it's best when baked just before topping the salad. I do think the dressing tasted better prepared the day before.

Mesclun and Cherry Salad with Goat Cheese
June 2008 Bon Appetit
Serves 6

•2 tablespoons roasted almond oil or olive oil (I used toasted hazelnut oil)
•2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
•2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
•1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
•3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
•3/4 cup sliced almonds (about 3 ounces)
•1 large egg
•1 tablespoon water
•1 11-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese, cut crosswise into 6 rounds
•6 cups (packed) mixed baby greens or baby spinach
•1 cup halved pitted fresh Bing cherries or other dark sweet cherries (about 7 ounces whole unpitted cherries)
•1/2 cup 2x1/4-inch strips fresh fennel bulb

•Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk first 5 in small bowl. Season dressing generously with salt and pepper.
•Spread almonds on plate. Whisk egg and 1 tablespoon water in small bowl; sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Turn goat cheese rounds in egg mixture, then coat with sliced almonds, covering all sides. Place on rimmed baking sheet. DO AHEAD Dressing and goat cheese rounds can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill. Bring dressing to room temperature and whisk before using.
•Bake goat cheese rounds until cheese is warm but not melted, about 10 minutes.
•Combine greens, cherries, and fennel in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 6 plates. Place 1 cheese round on each plate and serve.



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