Snow day! We don’t get too much snow here in Northern Virginia, so, when it does snow, it’s an event. It started late yesterday afternoon, and, okay, it’s only an inch or so, but it’s snow! When I got up at 4 a.m. to go to work, it was still snowing, the roads looked horrible, and I knew there was no way I was going to drive in this stuff. Never mind that I used to drive in much worse in Germany. Ahh, what good pair of snow tires will do for your car. Anyway, I had two choices, ride to work with my husband or take the day off. Hmmm, what to do?
I grabbed my camera, went outside and started taking pictures. The sun was just starting to come up, and the light was beautiful. I stay pretty busy, and don’t often just stop and look at the beauty around me. I did that this morning and realized I need to do a lot more of it.
Snow on the ground signifies that I can continue the Christmas season just a little longer. The recipe I’m sharing today is a beautiful salad I made for Christmas Eve. I loved it so much I made it again for New Year’s. The colors, red pomegranate, green arugula, and white goat cheese, make it perfect for Christmas, but don’t limit yourself to just making it for Christmas.
Goat cheese salad, a French favorite of mine, is great any time. And you could easily mix it up by adding or substituting ingredients, such as using frisee with a Dijon vinaigrette. However, don’t skip the goat cheese. Breaking into the crispy exterior of the cheese to the soft melty interior is what makes this salad.
Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
This recipe can easily be doubled. It can be made gluten free by using gluten-free flour and panko. The best way I have found to cut goat cheese into smooth slices is to use dental floss. If you don’t have any on hand, a knife dipped in hot water is also helpful. Leftover vinaigrette would be delicious on a spinach salad with bacon. You will need to allow the vinaigrette to warm up to room temperature before using.
1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
1/3 cup olive oil
5 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup arils (seeds) from half a pomegranate
2 4-ounce logs goat cheese
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 egg whites
1 cup panko
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 5-ounce container baby arugula
2 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
Prepare the vinaigrette. Bring the pomegranate juice to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the juice is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool, about 30 minutes. Whisk in remaining vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.
If using a whole pomegranate, remove the seeds. I have found the best way to do this is to cut the fruit into chunks and use my fingers to remove the seeds in a bowl of water. The seeds float to the top and the fibrous fruit chunks sink. Place the seeds in a bowl and set aside.
Slice each log of goat cheese into 6 slices. Set up a 3–station breading area by place flour and pepper in a shallow dish, the egg whites and 2 tablespoons water in a second dish, and the panko in a third dish. Dredge the goat cheese rounds in the flour, thoroughly wet them by dipping in the egg white mixture then thoroughly dredge them in the panko. Arrange on an aluminum foil–covered plate or pan, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and fry the cheese rounds 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.
Assemble the salad by dividing the arugula and orange sections between four plates. Drizzle with the pomegranate vinaigrette. Sprinkle each salad with some of the pomegranate seeds, then top each with three cheese rounds. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Southern Living A Very Special Christmas, December 2012