farmer’s market salad with spiced goat cheese rounds

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This is a bit of a misnomer for me, as I haven’t found a convenient farmers market since we moved to Pennsylvania last January. We drove half an hour to one last year and bought some nice eggs, but it didn’t have much in the way of produce. I hear there’s another, 30 minutes in the opposite direction, but honestly, my grocery store sells local produce and I’m lazy.

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Whether you buy your ingredients at a farmers market or the grocery store, you’ll end up with a delicious salad. We’re talking greens, topped with potatoes, green beans, slivered carrots, tomatoes, and, mmm, goat cheese. I used purple potatoes and I wanted yellow beans (yellow green beans?) for maximum color impact, but couldn’t find them. The original recipe also has black olives, and I included them the first time I made this salad, but they didn’t seem to fit with the other flavors.

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Now let me be honest: I put quite a bit of work into this salad. I roasted the potatoes and the green beans, I cut the carrots into the thinnest of coins, and I dutifully rolled discs of goat cheese in a colorful spice mixture. (Oh, and I unceremoniously dumped a pre-washed bag of mixed greens into a bowl.)

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Some of this is nice for maximum potential, but not strictly necessarily. The tomatoes? Expendable; I’m not sure they matched the rest of the ingredients anyway. The spices? Couldn’t taste ‘em. And it’s not like you’re really going to improve on goat cheese anyway. The shallot in the dressing? Nah. You could spend half the time, focusing on just the key components of this salad – the greens, dressing, potatoes, beans, and did I mention how much I love goat cheese? – and get a very similar result.

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On the other hand, if you do you have access to one of those colorful outside markets where the farmers are friendly and the produce is varied, mix it up! It’s a salad, and you’re not going to ruin it by making it your own.

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One year ago: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Farmers Market Salad with Spiced Goat Cheese Rounds (adapted from epicurious)

Makes 4 main-course servings

Goat cheese rounds:
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
16 (½-inch-thick) rounds chilled soft fresh goat cheese (from one 11-ounce log)

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse kosher salt

Salad:
1 pound baby new potatoes (such as Dutch yellow baby potatoes), halved
1 pound green beans (or mix of green and yellow), trimmed
8 cups (loosely packed) mixed salad greens
12 ounces assorted small tomatoes (such as cherry, grape, and teardrop; preferably mix of red and yellow)

For goat cheese rounds:
Line baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Mix first 6 ingredients in shallow bowl. Dip cut sides of goat cheese rounds into spice mixture to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet. Chill until ready to serve. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

For vinaigrette:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewhisk before using.)

For salad:
Steam potatoes until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate; cool. Steam green beans until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water; drain. Pat dry with paper towels. ( Potatoes and green beans can be made 6 hours ahead. Wrap separately in paper towels. Place in resealable plastic bag; chill.)

Combine greens and basil in large bowl. Add enough vinaigrette to coat lightly; toss. Arrange on large platter. Add potatoes and green beans to same large bowl; add remaining dressing and toss. Arrange potatoes and beans atop greens. Scatter tomatoes and olives over. Surround with goat cheese rounds.

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Comments

  1. Kerstin says:

    Love those goat cheese rounds, they would entice any non-veggie lover to gobble up that entire salad!

  2. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    This salad sounds divine! I love the goat cheese, it’s one of my favorites. Yum:)

  3. Katie says:

    My kind of salad!! YUM! And those potatoes look sooooo good!!

  4. Hélène says:

    This salad looks delicious. I’ll have to make it. I can’t find a great farmer’s market around here. I wish.

  5. Goat cheese is one of life’s simple pleasures. Your goat cheese rounds are a more subtle and complex pleasure. If you love goat cheese like I do and want to learn about how it has become a mainstay in the Midwest, check out http://digginginthedriftless.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/the-godmother-of-goat-cheese/
    Bon appétit
    Denise Thornton

  6. Lisa says:

    I love goat cheese and the idea of rolling it in spices sounds so yummy. It looks like you also added sesame seeds to the spice mix but it’s not in the recipe?

  7. WEndy says:

    I’m in heaven. Your goat cheese rounds look awesome and I know they are delicious.

  8. Sophia says:

    I LOVE goat cheese and I love that cute little purple potatoes! SO cool! This is one salad that won’t leave you feeling depraved!

  9. Manggy says:

    Lovely assortment of colors and flavors, Bridget :) I know it’s more work (ulp), but do you think you could improve on the goat cheese by toasting the spices first? :)

  10. Caitlin says:

    Goat cheese makes everything better. I’m convinced it’s like butter and bacon in that respect. Love those purple potatoes too though!

  11. Michele says:

    Your salad looks amazing!

  12. bridget says:

    Lisa – Yes! Sorry, I accidentally left them out of the recipe. I’ll fix it now.

    Manggy – That’s a good point. Either way, the spices add some fun bright color to the salad, but I bet toasting them would make their flavors actually noticeable.

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