My first awakening to Chèvre Blanc goat’s cheeses’ melting, bubbly, golden goodness dates back to the early 1990’s, when we discovered a brilliant bustling French brasserie in Covent Garden called Le Palais Du Jardin (now closed). At the time, they served a salad of this fresh-tasting meltingly soft cheese with slices of poached pear and a balsamic dressing.
The lively tang of goat's cheese served hot from the grill works equally well here with the earthy sweetness of beetroot, the peppery freshness of rocket (or watercress) and the piquancy of a simple vinaigrette. The whole dish coming together to great effect with the addition of some freshly chopped chives. I really like the contrast between the warm richness of cheese and cool vegetables.
The pink beetroot makes this salad as pretty as it is inviting. Since the 90’s, toasted goat’s cheese has become an enduring favourite for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. We had it today for a light lunch, but I also like to serve it as a starter to impress hungry dinner guests, which it always does!
Grilled Goats Cheese & Beetroot Salad (V) (Serves 4)
Ingredients - For the salad
4 x 100g (3½ oz) Chèvre Blanc goat’s cheese (I like Waitrose’s Mild Chèvre Blanc)
250g (9oz) ready-cooked organic beetroot, without vinegar
70g (2½oz) bag of rocket, washed and picked over
Ingredients - For the vinaigrette dressing
120ml (4½ fl oz) olive oil (I used half organic cold pressed olive oil and half organic cold pressed avocado oil)
40ml (1 ½ fl oz) organic raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp clear ‘runny’ raw organic honey, or maple syrup
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
Pre-heat the grill to high.
First make the vinaigrette dressing. Mix the vinegar, sea salt, pepper, honey and mustard together in a medium sized bowl and give it a good whisk. Add the oil a small dash at a time, whisking well between each addition. Continue adding the oil until it is all amalgamated into vinaigrette. Check and adjust the seasoning if necessary (if it tastes a little tart, a single drop of liquid Stevia will help compensate). Alternatively, make my Fast & Easy Vinaigrette and shake in a lidded container.
Set aside 6 tablespoons of the vinaigrette dressing until you’re ready to serve the salad.
Thinly slice the beetroot (a mandoline slicer gives the quickest and neatest result).
Lay the beetroot slices so they overlap each other to form a circle in the centre of four plates. Drizzle a teaspoon of vinaigrette over each beetroot circle - keeping the plate clean.
Line a baking tray or your wire grill rack with some non-stick foil. Place the goats' cheese rounds onto a baking sheet and place under the grill (about 3-4 inches from the heat) for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and turning golden brown.
Whilst the goat’s cheese is grilling, lightly dress the rocket leaves in a tablespoon of vinaigrette in a medium bowl. Divide the dressed salad leaves between the four plates piling it up neatly on top of the beetroot.
When the cheese is ready, place one in the middle of each plate on top of the dressed leaves.
Add the chives to the remainder of the dressing and drizzle around the outside of each plate.
For this recipe, you require slices of Chèvre Blanc goat’s cheese about 2.5 - 3cm thickness, rind-on, cut from a log.
Keep the goat’s cheese rounds refrigerated in their original wrapping until you’re ready to grill them. You do not want them to disintegrate into a messy ‘pool’ before they’ve had chance to brown!
I’ve used the classic 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar for this vinaigrette but you can adjust amounts according to your taste. If the finished vinaigrette tastes too tart, try adding more oil (or a drop of liquid Stevia); if it tastes too greasy, add a little more vinegar (or lemon juice). As an alternative to hand-whisked french dressing, make a vinaigrette by putting all the ingredients into a lidded jar and then shake the whole lot vigorously together until they’re combined, adding the chives afterwards. See my recipe for Fast & Easy Vinaigrette.
Store the unused vinaigrette in a lidded container for future use. It will happily keep at room temperature for several days without spoiling, although it will eventually separate - in this case, just re-whisk or give it a good shake before using.
Carbohydrate 7g Protein 21g - per serving