One of the joys of spring is the abundance of fresh greens straight from the garden. Add to that some fresh, locally produced goat cheese and your taste buds will be doing a happy dance.
- 4 oz. Fresh Feta cheese sliced 1/4" thick
- Olive Oil
- Panko* (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
- 10 ounces Fresh Spinach
- Fresh Fruit of choice
*You can substitute crushed saltines in a pinch but crackers add salt to an already salted cheese.
Press the thyme leaves onto the cheese (add a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper if you'd like) and layer the slices in a dish. Cover the cheese with olive oil and allow to marinate overnight or longer. This would be a good use for your herbs stored in oil as described in my Herbal Harvest post.
Remove the cheese from the oil and reserve the oil for use in the dressing. Place the cheese in the panko and press to adhere the crumbs to the cheese.
Heat a skillet on the high side of medium. Lightly coat the skillet with oil and add the panko-coated cheese. Do not disturb the cheese until the coating has become a crisp golden brown; flip to brown the other side. Remove the cheese from the pan and allow it to cool so that it is firm enough to cut into bite-sized pieces.
Divide the spinach onto two plates. Add fresh berries or other fruit. Substitute canned fruit if fresh isn't available. I used a half-pint of sweet cherries that I canned last summer then used the juice in the salad dressing.
For a strictly savory yet wonderfully colorful presentation use kalamatta olives and roasted red peppers in place of the fruit.
Top the simple salad with the goat cheese crisps and finish with a Homemade Vinaigrette using the herbed oil.
If the only goat cheese you have ever tried has been the mass-produced supermarket variety then you may be missing out on a true delicacy. You can often find local producers at farmers markets. It is worthwhile to source your cheese from a local farmstead if you have the opportunity. And besides, the goats are super cute!