Yep, Chez Pannise, the esteemed restaurant of Alice Waters, is kind of a big deal to me. Long before I ever stepped my foot into this little Berkeley foodie shrine, I had been worshiping its’ recipes the way Hindus worship Vishnu.
And why wouldn’t I? Clean, organic, local food – slow food, real food – showcasing only peak-of-the-season ingredients…
One Chez Pannise recipe that I’ve been dying to share is a recipe of a baked goat cheese salad. This Alice Waters’ creation has become a classic on the menus of many California restaurants. Set over a tangle of frisée, warm tangy rounds of goat cheese pair perfectly with a simple light vinaigrette. Their smooth and creamy melted interior contrasts nicely with the crispy crunchy crust, adding an element of a surprise to each bite.
Baked Goat Cheese With Frisée Salad
Adapted from Chez Panisse Café Cookbook
- 1 bunch fresh thyme or rosemary – leaves only
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 16 ounces goat cheese (the fresher the better)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or rosemary for breadcrumbs
- 1 cup cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons leftover olive oil marinade
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cups frisée
- Mix thyme, black pepper and olive oil in a deep dish, large enough to hold goat cheese rounds in 1 layer.
- Cut cheese into disks about 3/4-inch thick, add to the dish.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Turn cheese over and marinate for at least 12 more hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Mix bread crumbs with a pinch of sea salt and olive oil.
- Spread the crumbs on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring a few times during baking. Once toasted, let cool and mix in chopped fresh thyme or parsley.
- Remove the goat cheese rounds from the oil and let the excess drip off briefly.
- Dredge the cheese in the toasted breadcrumb mixture until they’re completely coated. Bake on a cookie sheet or in a gratin dish for 5 to 8 minutes, or until warmed through and soft when you press gently in the center. Don’t over-bake them or they will start drying out.
- Remove the pan from oven and use a spatula to lift the cheese rounds.
- Toss the frisée with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Evenly divide the salad and the cheese among 4 dinner plates. Serve warm with garlic toasts.
The tangy flavors in this salad can easily overpower many whites but are well matched by a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. My favorite one is Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2009, produced locally in the romantic Sonoma county.