Crispy Goat Cheese Salad
Crispy Goat Cheese Salad Erin McDowell

Let’s get right down to brass tacks: This salad is basically a vehicle for goat cheese. (And we’re not talking about a few crumbles, either.) We coat creamy goat-cheese rounds with salty pistachios and toast them in a skillet to form a nice crust. Then we set the warm rounds on top of some arugula, fennel and radishes tossed with lemon juice and olive oil. Fresh and tangy, this salad is anything but bland.

Makes 4 servings
Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Ingredients

6 cups arugula

1 head fennel, halved and thinly sliced

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

1½ cups kalamata olives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup pistachios, very finely chopped (or pulsed in the food processor)

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

4 slices goat cheese (about 1- to 1½-inch thick)

Directions

1. Make the salad: Toss the arugula, fennel and radishes together in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, and toss well to coat the greens. Add the olives, season with salt and pepper, and toss again to incorporate.

2. Make the crispy goat cheese: In a small bowl, combine the pistachios with the bread crumbs. Gently roll the goat-cheese slices in the pistachio mixture to coat on all sides.

3. Heat a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over very high heat. Add the goat cheese and cook until the nuts on the exterior are toasty, about 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side. Be careful not to cook too long or the cheese will begin to melt.

4. Plate the salad: Divide the salad among four plates and top each with a piece of crispy goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Cast iron is your friend here: It gets fiery-hot and makes the outside of the goat cheese super crispy. (Not to mention that its seasoned surface is even better than nonstick.)

  • Add protein by topping each serving with a few tablespoons of cooked chickpeas.

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