My little veggie patch in the backyard has not been doing too well this year. It is the middle of June and other than lots of herbs, all I’ve gotten out of it as yet are a couple of radishes. I live in a suburb of Washington DC and this year we had an unusually cold spring and the result of this was that I got late in planting my saplings and seeds this year. So today I decided that even though I wasn’t able to get any traditional harvest out of it, I could always use the various green leaves as salad. So I harvested lots of the radish leaves, some baby Swiss chard leaves and some pea shoots. The radish leaves gave the salad a very peppery flavor and I loved the contrast they had with the sweet beets. Since the chard leaves were still very young, they were almost velvety and added a great textural component to the salad. All the leaves were very fresh and so they tasted absolutely magnificent (better than anything that I could have gotten from the super market!). I bought the baby beets at our local farmer’s market and the Calabrese salami from a local artisanal sausage maker and so their freshness and superior quality also added to the taste and flavor of this salad.
1. 4-5 cups of assorted salad leaves (I used radish leaves pea shoots and baby Swiss chard)
2. 1 small Calabrese salami (any other kind of hard salami would do as well). If you are vegetarian, you can do without the salami entirely.
3. 6-8 small beets (boiled and peeled)
4. 8 ounces of goat cheese
5. ¼ cup bread crumbs or salted cracker crumbs
6. 1 egg
7. A few sprigs of fresh herbs (I used some fresh oregano, chives, marjoram, parsley, mint, rosemary) – any kind of fresh herbs are good and just a few sprigs are enough.
8. 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
9. 1.5 tablespoons of honey
10. 1.5 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
11. 1/3 teaspoon of freshly ground peppercorns
12. 1/3 of teaspoon of salt
1. Wash the salad greens under cold water and dry the leaves out completely (use a salad spinner or kitchen paper towels to dry the leaves out).
5. Break the egg in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of cold water to it and using a small whisk beat the egg to make an egg-wash.
6. The herbed goat cheese/Chevre crockets work well in the salad when they are warm and so that step will have to be done at the very end of the process and so we will get everything else prepped up before that.
7. To make the vinaigrette mix the following ingredients in a small bowl: 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1.5 tablespoons of honey, 1.5 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar, 1/3 teaspoon of freshly grated pepper and 1/3 teaspoon of salt. Whisk everything together and set the vinaigrette aside.
8. Place a nonstick pan on low to medium heat and start heating it.
9. While the pan is getting heated, make the goat cheese patties. Using both your hand shape about a tablespoon and a half of goat cheese into a small patty. Roll this patty in the chopped herbs first.
13. Place the cooked patties on a dry paper towel to soak any excess oil.
14. Place a couple of goat cheese patties/crockets on each bowl of salad (which has the greens, salami and cooked beets in it) you want to serve.
15. Drizzle a about a tablespoon or so of vinaigrette on each salad bowls and serve the salad while the goat cheese is still warm.