Monday, June 02, 2008

goat cheese salad with pancetta, dried cherry and port dressing


Gay Koenemann of Bonn, Germany, had dinner at 300 East Boulevard on a recent trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. There he was treated to the most exquisite salad he'd ever had. Although the restaurant calls it Fall Salad on the menu, it's enjoyable year-round.

Dried cranberries would make a good alternative to the dried cherries.

Servings: Makes 4 Servings.

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1 1/4 cups dried tart cherries
1/2 cup tawny Port

5 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

1 5.5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 5-ounce bag mixed salad greens
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted


Combine cherries and Port in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; let stand until cherries swell, about 15 minutes. Sauté pancetta in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add shallots and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add oil, then vinegar and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in cherry mixture. Season with salt and pepper. (Dressing can be made 2 hours ahead. Set aside in skillet at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place goat cheese slices on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until warm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine salad greens and pine nuts in bowl. Rewarm dressing and pour over salad; toss to blend. Top with warm goat cheese and serve.

summer rice salad with goat cheese dressing


Here's a simple do-ahead salad that travels very well. It's also great as a side dish for grilled chicken or beef.

Servings: Serves 8.


1/2 cup corn oil
1/2 cup crumbled soft mild goat cheese (such as Montrachet)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

4 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon salt

1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed, drained
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red onion
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives or green onions


For Dressing: Combine corn oil, goat cheese, vinegar, oregano, cumin and cloves in large bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.

For Salad: Bring 4 1/2 cups water to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Add rice and 1 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Transfer rice to large bowl. Fluff with fork. Pour goat cheese dressing over hot rice and let cool, tossing occasionally. Mix in corn, red and green bell peppers, red and green onions and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Rice salad can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand 2 hours at room temperature before serving.)