Tag Archives: goat cheese

Beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and chicken

Beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and chicken

This is my take on a classic salad. The combination of ingredients is hardly original, though I haven’t seen chicken added to make it a main-course salad. I liked the dressing I came up with, a vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar, honey, and a generous amount of Dijon mustard. I think it went well here and I plan on making it for other salads. One note: I have absolutely decided that for any vinaigrette that includes honey, putting the ingredients in a jar and shaking to combine is the only way to go. Especially with the small quantity involved for a salad for one, trying to whisk the ingredients together is just too difficult.

A few other comments: I don’t give a quantity for the number of beets to use because they vary so much in size. I happened to get quite small ones and used three, but with some very large beets one would be more than enough. The same goes for how to cut the beets for the salad. With my small beets, cutting them into wedges gave pieces that were a good size and looked nice. But a large beet would have to either be diced or sliced and then the slices cut into wedges. Likewise, the length of time required for roasting will obviously depend on the size.

For the walnuts, I used the plain toasted shelled walnuts. If you like candied nuts, go ahead, but that’s not my thing. Also, I suggest going with the “whole” walnuts, not the chopped. I used the quotes because numbers of the pieces were broken, which was fine. Indeed, I broke the whole pieces in half for the salad. But I think this is better than the smaller chopped pieces.

Beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and chicken

olive oil

spring mix lettuce
cooked chicken breast, in bite-sized pieces
goat cheese

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F for roasting the beets. (If you have an uncooked chicken breast, you can bake it at the same time.) Wash the beets and cut off most of the stems, leaving about an inch. Place the beets on a sheet of foil (I used 2 layers), sprinkle on a little olive oil and a bit of salt and roll the beets in the oil to coat. Wrap the foil tightly and put the beets in the oven. The beets are done when a knife goes in easily when you pierce a beet. You can do this through the foil without unwrapping and just put them back in the oven if they need more time. The small beets I had were done in 45 minutes. Larger beets could take an hour.

After taking the beets out of the oven, wait until the beets are cool enough to handle. Cut off the top and bottom of each beet. Remove the skins. It may work to use paper towels to rub the skins off, or you may have to use a knife to peel. I would suggest doing this right over the foil package and using disposable gloves–everything is going to get very red! Cut the beets into bite-sized pieces for the salad, doing this on a papper plate, a piece of parchment paper, or something else disposable rather than staining your cutting board.

I would suggest having this done an hour or two before you make the salad, leaving the beets and chicken out at room temperature.

Assemble the salad, putting the beets, chicken, and walnuts on the lettuce. Shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, and pepper. Pour over the salad. Add small pieces of goat cheese.

Mushroom truffle salad

Mushroom truffle salad

This was directly inspired by my mushroom truffle frittata. I am essentially substituting the lettuce for the eggs and adding chicken to make it a main course salad. I am using plain chicken breast, at room temperature, putting it off to the side, and topping with the vinaigrette along with the lettuce. The goal is for the hot mushrooms to be the star of the salad, with the chicken playing a supporting role.

Mushroom truffle salad

1–1/4 cup shitake mushrooms (caps), sliced
1–1/4 cup crimini mushrooms (caps), sliced
vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil

cooked chicken breast, sliced, at room temperature
baby romaine lettuce
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled or in small pieces, depending on consistency

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon truffle oil

Cook the mushrooms in oil over medium heat at least 10 minutes until nicely browned.

While the mushrooms are cooking, arrange the lettuce on the plate with the chicken off to the side. Whisk or shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, and truffle oil, adding the truffle oil to taste. Pour over the lettuce and the chicken.

When the mushrooms are browned, add the truffle oil and cook one more minute. Put the mushrooms on the salad and add the goat cheese.

Mushroom truffle frittata

Mushroom truffle frittata

This is a frittata for someone who really likes mushrooms!

I used crimini and shitake mushrooms for this frittata, as these are readily available, but you could certainly use other kinds. I think using two different types adds to the complexity of the flavor. I definitely think this frittata calls for something more interesting than the white button mushrooms. By the way, the quantity of mushrooms may look like way to much for the frittata when you first put them into the pan, but remember that mushrooms cook down a great deal.

For me, 1/8 teaspoon of truffle oil (I used black truffle oil) is just enough to add to the flavor of the mushrooms. You may want more or less, so taste and smell the mushrooms as you add the oil. A note on truffle oil: Most (all?) truffle oil gets its flavor not from truffles but from the chemical that is the primary flavor component of truffles. It may or may not also have some real truffle included as well. When you think about it, given the extremely high price of truffles, there is no way real truffles could be used to get that much truffle flavor into a bottle of oil that could sell for under $15. Extreme disputes have arisen as to whether it is appropriate to use such artificially-flavored truffle oil in fine cuisine. Some chefs bitterly oppose its use. On the other hand, Thomas Keller’s French Laundry cookbook has numerous recipes that call for truffle oil.

In these blog posts I frequently describe the inspiration for a frittata or salad. When I first made this frittata, I wasn’t (consciously) thinking of any specific dish or recipe. This just seemed like something that would work and taste good. But as I was writing this post, I recalled what was surely the source for this. Some years ago, we had this absolutely awesome mushroom soup in a restaurant in Monterey, California. My daughter, an excellent chef, recreated the soup. The primary ingredients were mushrooms, cream, goat cheese, and truffle oil.

If you want to have a glass of wine with your frittata, this is very earthy, so I would suggest a red wine.

Mushroom truffle frittata

1 heaping cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 heaping cup shitake mushrooms, caps, sliced and cut into pieces
1/3 cup/1 ounce goat cheese, shredded or crumbled
1/8 teaspoon truffle oil
olive oil

3 eggs
olive oil

Cook mushrooms over medium to medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until the moisture is gone and they start to nicely brown. You may want to turn up the heat towards the end to help them brown. Several minutes before the mushrooms are done, add the truffle oil so it can be cooked through all of the mushrooms. Remove from the pan.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan if needed and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the mushrooms and goat cheese into the eggs and pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.