Oh! It has pine nuts and balsamic, too, but the title was already verging on a little longish, don’t you think?
The lovely people at Ile de France were nice enough to send me another sample of cheese, as they’ve done before. Their cheese really are delicious, and I would definitely recommend trying them if you haven’t already. The goat cheese is especially great because as you are prepping dinner, you can eat all the crumbs that fall off the log and/or get stuck to your fingers. And everyone knows that, even if you accidentally eat half the log, calories don’t count when you’re prepping dinner.
I had the idea to make a goat cheese-bacon salad earlier in the week but then I thought it sounded kind of boring. At that point, I was instead going to crust the goat cheese in cornmeal, make a poblano dressing, and add some pepitas (which I’m sure I’ll still do at some point…). But, the day I was actually going to eat the salad, my mind started wandering to thoughts of bacon, as it often does. I mean, really, how could I ever think of bacon and goat cheese, in any shape or form, as boring?
I decided the fate of the salad would rest on whether or not my husband found fresh figs at the market after work. If not, it was back to the southwesterny salad. I crossed all appendages, and I think it worked, because he came home with a small crate of figs.
This salad was so good. I certainly don’t claim to be the first to combine goat cheese and figs, or bacon and greens, but, dammit if I’m not awesome for combining all of those things plus toasty pine nuts into one great salad. Salty bacon, warm cheese, slightly sweet figs, crunchy pine nuts. How can you go wrong, really?
Baby Greens Salad with Roasted Figs, Bacon, and Warm Goat Cheese
Serves 4 as a first course/hefty side
4 ounce goat cheese log
1 egg white
1/3 cup bread crumbs
olive oil (optional)
8 black mission figs, stemmed and cut in half
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar + extra for drizzling
4 slices thick-cut bacon
2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
8 cups baby greens
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Season the bread crumbs with a few grinds of pepper. Slice the goat cheese into 8, 1/2 oz. slices. Dip each slice into the egg white, and then into the breadcrumbs, lightly patting to make sure the crumbs adhere all around. Refrigerate or freeze for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast the figs. Preheat the oven to 400. Lay the figs cut side up on a baking sheet/pan and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 6 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelized. Reserve any additional balsamic/drippings. You can bake the goat cheese medallions at the same time, if you want, or pan-fry them in a little olive oil, at about the same time you are making the bacon.
Cook the bacon in a clean, dry skillet (you might as well use this pan for toasting the pine nuts, before you cook the bacon). Remove the bacon to some paper towels to drain, leaving behind the fat (drain some if it’s more than 2 Tbsp.). Crumble the bacon.
Off the heat, but while the pan is still hot, add 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and any drippings from the fig pan. Scrape up anything that may be left on the pan.
Plate your greens, top with the figs, hot goat cheese medallions, crumbled bacon, and pine nuts. Drizzle with the balsamic/bacon dressing.