Alice Waters’ Baked Goat Cheese Salad & Morning Song Farm CSA

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It’s hard to find fault in a warm round of herb-marinated, breadcrumb-encrusted goat cheese. But seriously my friends, the goat cheese was not the star of this salad. See those greens up there? The tender green leaves and the baby red romaine? These greens, gosh, I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious they are. They come from Morning Song Farm, the north San Diego County farm whose CSA I just joined.

I have been meaning to join a CSA since arriving in California over a year ago now, and when I learned that the new wine and cheese bar in town was a drop off spot for CSAs, I jumped. I signed up on a Monday via email and two days later my box of freshly harvested produce arrived at The Cellar. I can’t tell you how easy it was. Before I knew it, the above pictured greens were in my hands along with a boodle of other treats — lemons, avocados, grapefruits, Swiss Chard, beets, strawberries, herbs and the list goes on and on. (You can see almost everything that arrived in weeks one and two in the pictures below.)

Most of you know what a CSA is, but just in case, there is a quick summary about halfway down the page here. And if you still haven’t signed up for one, check out LocalHarvest.org. With 2,500 participating farms listed in their database, Local Harvest has the most comprehensive directory of CSAs in the country.

When I saw these greens, I thought of Alice Waters’ recipe for baked goat cheese salad, which Cookstr recently highlighted in their Mother’s Day newsletter. It’s a wonderful recipe. I followed it mostly, substituting toasted panko bread crumbs for the freshly made ones, a shortcut I’m sure Alice Waters would look down on, but alas, it worked.

Anyway, hooray!, it’s Wednesday, which means it’s CSA pickup day. I hate to be sentimental, but one of the best parts about belonging to a CSA is actually belonging. I so look forward to walking up to The Cellar every Wednesday and saying hi to Dawn and Zoe, who have become my west coast incarnations of Sarah Cain, Emily Teel and Joanna Pernick, my friends at the Fair Food Farmstand whom I dearly miss. It is so much fun peaking inside the box each week, inspecting the goods, and sharing a strawberry or a few strands of the most fragrant and delectable mint you have ever seen. Seriously, it is a real joy.

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csa week 2

Red Lettuce

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Baked Goat Cheese Salad
Source: Alice Waters and Cookstr
Serves: 4

For the goat cheese rounds:
½ pound fresh goat cheese (one 2 by 5-inch log)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
½ sour baguette, preferably a day old (I used panko bread crumbs)

salad greens, however many you need

For the dressing:

Finely dice a shallot or two. Place in a bowl and cover with the juice of one orange. Add 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of sugar. Let macerate for 15 minutes, if you have the time, or less, if you don’t. Whisk in about 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. It’s ok if the dressing is not totally emulsified. Just give it a stir when you’re ready to use it and make sure to scoop out some of those delicious shallots over your greens when you’re ready to toss them.

1. Carefully slice the goat cheese into 8 disks about ½ inch thick. Pour the olive oil over the disks and sprinkle with the chopped herbs. Cover and store in a cool place for several hours or up to a week.

2. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and dry out in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until dry and lightly colored. Grate into fine crumbs on a box grater or in a food processor. The crumbs can be made in advance and stored until needed. (Note: Using panko makes this process much simpler)

3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. (Note: Cookstr says a toaster oven works well.) Remove the cheese disks from the marinade and roll them in the bread crumbs, coating them thoroughly. Place the cheeses on a small baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes, until the cheese is warm.

4. Toss the lettuces lightly with the vinaigrette and arrange on salad plates. With a metal spatula, carefully place 2 disks of the baked cheese on each plate and serve.


13. May 2009 by Alexandra Stafford
Categories: Cheese, CSA, Eating Locally, Salads, Vegetarian | 31 comments


Comments (31)

  1. Texas CSA boxes don’t come with avocados. ::jealous::
    found an amazing Kumquat recipe here: http://beautyeveryday.com/2009/03/03/kumquat-upside-down-cake/#more-56

  2. Oh man, I am so craving that salad right now after eating a yogurt with grapenuts for lunch…bleh! Your pictures are gorgeous and have me yearing to plant my veggies (still too cold on the East coast). Can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of your CSA bounty.

  3. What an amazing bounty!!! I’m mouth is agape right now. I’m sure Waters will forgive you for the panko– I mean, you haven’t done anything to me and I am giving you a free pass for anything just based on this lovely salad! ;)

  4. What beautiful veggies and fruits! That salad looks really good!
    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. The first sentence says it all. There is no fault in warm goat cheese. Any goat cheese for that matter.

  6. If only I didn’t live in a place where catus and lard was considered produce..

  7. What an amazing box of produce – I wish there was a CSA pick-up by us that I could make it to (all close before I get off work). I love, love, love goat cheese – your salad looks incredible!

  8. What an amazing array of fruits and veggies! How do you not eat all that in one sitting?!

  9. What a lovely ensemble of fruit & veggies!! I adore your lovely pictures!! So colourful!!
    I love all of the salads & fruits! delicious!
    That salad with the goeat’s cheese is simpel yet so flavourful, because of the excellent seasonal ingredients!! This is how I like to cook!!

  10. fruits and vegetables are far and away the most beautiful of all the food groups. frankly, they taste the best too (but that’s only because dessert isn’t truly a legitimate food group…). :)

  11. I don’t love goat cheese, but your pictures are so beautiful!
    I want to eat that salad now.

  12. I can’t believe you get so much in one run from the CSA! I’ve been long debating joining one in Northern California, put the idea to rest for a while since I wasn’t sure if they’d give me a big enough assortment, and am reconsidering again after looking at your picture. Now, if I could only get a drop-off point at a wine & cheese bar!
    And you’re right, the goat cheese is sexy, but wow, those greens are knockouts! I’m going to scan your blog for photography advice too- beautiful pictures of them.

  13. One of the best things about moving to LA is the year-round fantastic produce–coming from NYC, it’s unbelievable! May I suggest you someday splurge and try LeBlanc’s Pistachio oil (I get it at Surfa’s in LA but it’s available online in different places)–I use it over greens and warmed goat cheese with a sprinkling of pistachios (it’s all on my site)…and it is really special. No vinegar or lemon juice at all. It’s that good.

  14. Okay, that produce looks amazing … my husband and I often drive out to a local Long Island farm and buy some fresh produce but joining a CSA would probably be much more convenient. Love the salad and the goat cheese–I can easily enjoy that as a meal every day…

  15. The salad – amazing without a doubt and just seeing all the fresh produce makes me happy.

  16. Love all those produce pictures! My in-laws live in North County :). The salad looks amazing too.

  17. WoW it all looks so fresh and terrific! We don’t have anything like that around here but we do have a local farmers market. Enjoy your bounty!

  18. Aw, Ali! Thanks for the shout-out! I miss you, too. Though now I’m a CSA subscriber myself- Landisdale Farm- and no longer a purveyor of beautiful foods like these. I’m so glad to find that you’ve found a convenient source for such fresh produce. Tria should really look into being a CSA pick-up location….

    Hope you’re well, and be sure to let me know if you make it back east at any point.

  19. Emily! I wish we had another Slow Food Nation event to look forward to together! That was so much fun. I will definitely let you know the next time I am back east. I hope all is well!

    Ali

  20. Everything about this is good. Yum!

  21. Wow, veggie porn! Gorgeous, and are those avocados in your CSA? Mmmmm, CSA envy.

  22. I love all the colors here. Very beautiful and plentiful. A vegetable mosaic.

  23. I’m so jealous of your CSA bounty. I guess I should join myself. I just don’t know if I could get through it all since my husband travels so much. Do you really manage to use everything up before it goes bad? Your pictures are simply mouthwatering!

  24. I would love to join a CSA – it would be nice to have the break from grocery shopping!

  25. I don’t know what a CSA is, but it looks like I need to find out.

    Your salad looks wonderful! congrats on all of that beautiful produce.

  26. wow, that’s quite a bounty! What size is that box? It seems so huge and full of everything from fruit, veggies, lettuces and herbs – all I can say is wow!

  27. Those look amazing! So fresh and crisp!

  28. What gorgeous produce!

  29. Hello Alexandra!

    A few days ago, I gave you an award! Please come over & pick it up @my second latest post: a strawberry smoothie & 2 awards!
    Why? Because you deserve it!

  30. Your pictures look like a Beautiful Rainbow~
    With every thing from Veggies, Lettuces, and Herbs!

    Thanks for sharing~

    And if you can visit me I can visit you:)

    Welcome~
    foodcreate.com

  31. we are considering joining Morning Song Farm CSA so I googled it and up came your blog – we’re sold and are going to join their CSA and use your blog as inspiration! THANK YOU.

    BTW – GORGEOUS photography – I hope that is what you do for a living, I used to be an Art Director of Photography and I would hire you in a second!!

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