Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Baked Basil Goat Cheese Rounds

For me, salad must have some cheese involved. Doesn't everything taste better with cheese anyway? Goat cheese is one of my favorite salad cheeses, whether its crumbled, sliced or in this case, baked. Crispy coated disks of goat cheese are warmed until soft and served on top of crisp greens. The surprise comes when you slice into the cheese and an explosion of fresh herbs like basil and parsley come through. Baked goat cheese is so versatile that you can use any herbs you prefer but these Baked Basil Goat Cheese Rounds went especially well with the spinach and fresh strawberry salad I prepared...

These Baked Basil Goat Cheese Rounds couldn't be easier to make and even better is that you can make these in advance and keep them in your freezer. Just pull out however many you need and bake for a few minutes before adding them to a salad. These have come in handy for dressing up a salad and makes a plain salad more elegant for guests.

Baked Basil Goat Cheese Rounds
recipe inspired by David Lebovitz

8 oz goat cheese, softened
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Combine the goat cheese, herbs, garlic powder and onion powder in a bowl. Cream all the ingredients until fully incorporated. Using a scoop or spoon, form a golf ball sized ball of the cheese in your hands and then firmly flatten to form a disk; set aside. Continue forming disks until all goat cheese is used.

Whisk the egg in a small bowl and dip each goat cheese disk into the egg and dredge into the breadcrumbs.

Place the coated disks of goat cheese into the freezer to firm up, at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the disks on a non stick or lightly greased cookie sheet for 5 to 8 minutes, or until warmed through and soft when you press gently in the center. Serve on top of your favorite salad.