Growing up in the Bay Area, the valleys of Napa and Sonoma were just a quick weekend getaway for Dzung Lewis and her family. Her parents loved exploring the picturesque countryside. Hence, she has celebrated many special occasions in the area—including birthdays, engagement parties, and even her “mini-moon!” And when the leaves turn color, the shadows get longer, and the nights become crisper, there’s nothing quite as magical as wine country.
This Fall Harvest Salad is inspired by a postcard vineyard view in Napa speckled with bright rustic hues. With fruity and fine cheese flavors, it’s a hearty, but easy meal for Indian summer.
1 (4-ounce) log goat cheese
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
⅔ cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 garlic clove, minced, or 1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups packed baby kale salad mix (about 3 ounces)
1 cup canned cannellini beans (about ½ can), rinsed and drained
1 carrot, sliced into ¼-inch discs
½ cup dried dates, halved, pitted, and sliced into ½-inch pieces
½ cup halved red grapes
1 Bosc pear, thinly sliced
½ cup store-bought candied walnuts
PREPARE THE GOAT CHEESE: Slice the goat cheese log (see Note) into 5 roughly equal rounds.
SET UP A DREDGING STATION: Line a plate with waxed paper or parchment paper. Put the flour in one small bowl and the beaten egg in a second bowl. In a third bowl, stir together the panko, salt, and garlic powder. Working with one slice at a time, dip the goat cheese rounds first into flour to coat, then into the beaten egg, and then into the panko mixture, carefully coating each slice each time. Transfer the coated slices to the waxed paper and freeze for 15 minutes. (You can also make these ahead and simply refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 24 hours.)
MAKE THE DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, basil, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste until the honey has dissolved. (You can make the dressing a day ahead of time and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.)
PREPARE THE REST OF THE SALAD: Bring a small saucepan with about 1 inch of water in it to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and cook for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
When you’re ready to serve the salad, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot (a bit of panko should sizzle vigorously in the oil), add the chilled goat cheese slices and fry until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the goat cheese to a plate lined with paper towels to drain for a moment.
In a large bowl, mix the baby kale with ¼ cup of the dressing. Transfer the kale to a large platter and arrange the green beans, cannellini beans, carrot, dates, grapes, pear, and walnuts on top.
Place the fried goat cheese over the arranged salad and drizzle the remaining dressing over the veggies and cheese just before serving.
Note: Believe it or not, the best way to cut goat cheese easily is with unflavored dental floss, but you can also just use a thin knife. If you cut the cheese with a knife, dip it in hot water and wipe it dry between cuts.
This Fall Harvest Salad recipe is from The Honeysuckle Cookbook by Dzung Lewis. Copyright © 2020.
Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.