Mesclun and Cherry Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

Mesclun and Cherry Salad with Warm Goat Cheese The stone fruit season is here!
Can I get an Amen?

Last week, our first shipment of Fitzgerald Farms nectarines and peaches arrived. If you don’t know why that is such a big deal, then you’ve never tasted one of Fitz’s Carmen Miranda Nectarines…so get in the car now and come on down.

This is my favorite time of year for fruit, and lately I have been knee deep in it. Last weekend, I relieved my brother-in-law of 30 pounds of gorgeous apricots from his backyard, which were immediately made into 8 pints of jam. The remaining ‘cots were packed in school lunches or put in my dehydrator for snacking later. Yes. I have a dehydrator. Doesn’t everyone?

On Sunday, I went to the farmer’s market, and not only did I load up on even more nectarines, I went crazy for the cherries. We love cherries in my house. If I can get them to last more than a day it’s an accomplishment. My kids eat them like candy to the point we have to put them on cherry rations so they don’t make themselves sick.

More often than not we eat the cherries as is, and they are gone before I can make anything with them. But one of my favorite ways to eat cherries is tossed in a salad with some nuts and goat cheese. It’s a perfect lunch or light dinner for when the weather gets hot. If you add some nectarines and/or apricots, so much the better. Go crazy. Toss this with a walnut oil or white balsamic vinaigrette and you’re good to go. Or, if you like, go fancier with this recipe from Bon Appetit.  

Mesclun and Cherry Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
Adapted from Bon Appétit | June 2008
by Lori Longbotham
Makes 6 servings

Warm goat cheese rounds are a lovely contrast to the cool salad. Halved cherries add a fresh, sweet flavor.

2 tablespoons roasted almond oil or olive 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 or crumbled
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 cup diced apricots or nectarines
1/2 cup 2×1/4-inch strips fresh fennel bulb

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk first 5 ingredients 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 the goat chees until warm but not melted (about 10 minutes).

Combine greens, fruit, 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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