Before I get into the evening's offerings, I would like to thank my friend Amy Corrinne for the great job she did spiffing up the page. I may be good in the kitchen, but a lot of technology makes my head spin, so I am forever in awe of people that have her talents. Thank you, Amy!
On our honeymoon in France I became addicted to this sweet little salad served by a restaurant right around the corner from our hotel in Paris. It was a simple pile of tangled baby greens topped by dear little bundles of goats cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry. The whole thing was drizzled with a tangy sweet honey dressing, and each time I ordered it (this was the only restaurant that we repeated, it was that good), I ate every creamy crunchy delicious bite.
Having nothing but time on my hands (still working on those job prospects, sigh), I have been thinking more than ever about recreating this salad, or approximating a version of it. I think I came close tonight.
Baby Green Salad with Goats Cheese Parcels and Honey Shallot Vinaigrette
soft goats cheese (small package)
various dried herbs
bagged baby lettuces (I used spinach, romaine, and butter lettuce)
one small shallot
light vinegar (I used Heinz Tarragon vinegar)
fresh ground pepper
Place the goats cheese in a bowl and mash up with a fork. Sprinkle in whatever dried herbs sound good to you--I used white pepper, basil, parsley, and sea salt--and mix well.
Using a rounded teaspoon or a small ice cream scooper (have I convinced you that you need one of these yet?), scoop a ball of cheese into the center of each wonton wrapper. You won't come close to using all of the wrappers, but don't dispair, I have another recipe in mind.
Once you've distributed all of the cheese, it is time to seal the wontons. Going one at a time, use a pastry brush to moisten the edges of the wrappers, then pinch them into little bundles. Make sure the cheese is sealed in well. Set aside with a very slightly dampened paper towel resting on top.
The vinaigrette is made by taste, so pull out a glass bottle (like I recommended with the Perfect Vinaigrette). Chop the shallot very finely and put in the bottle. Add the rest of the ingredients to taste, giving it a good shake and adjusting seasoning from there. You want a sweet, tangy concoction to mix with the creamy goats cheese.
Heat about a half inch of the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet. You want it fairly hot, but not smoking--the temperature is perfect when a piece of bread fries golden brown after 30 seconds. Fry the cheese parcels until golden and blistered, turning to cook evenly. Drain briefly on paper towels, then place on top of the salad greens. Drizzle with vinaigrette and tuck in! I love the still warm cheese with the cool, crisp greens.
I served this tonight with Shrimp and Roasted Red Pepper Butter Sauce that I wrote about here. I updated that post with a picture so you can see just how nice a dish it is. It is very light dish with subtle flavors, and paired nicely with the salad.