A bite of aged goat cheese, then a fresh bite of tart-sweet greens punctuated with the crunch of fresh apple—this is a perfect marriage. Serve as a first course, a one-dish lunch, or a combination salad and cheese course. The only trick to this recipe is having all the ingredients ready to go, and slicing the apples no more than about 20 minutes before serving. Also make sure the cheese is at room temperature.
- 6 to 7 ounces aged domestic goat cheese like Capriole Banon or Humboldt Fog
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon honey, or more as needed
- A few flakes hot red pepper flakes
- 3 medium (about 1 1/2 pounds) Braeburn, Fuji, or other sweet crisp apples, peeled and cut into small wedges about 1-inch by 1/4-inch
- 10 small (about 1-inch) fresh basil leaves
- 7 baby spinach or sorrel leaves (about 2-inches long)
- Generous 1/4 cup finely snipped chives, or scallion tops
- A large handful organic spring mix, mesclun, or mixed wild greens
- Generous pinch sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fruity extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1. Place a piece of goat cheese to one side of each of 4 roomy plates. In a medium bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon honey and the red pepper flakes. Toss in the apple. Stack basil and spinach or sorrel leaves. Roll up tightly like a cigar, and slice thinly into narrow strips. Set aside a few teaspoons of the greens along with a few teaspoons of the snipped chives. Toss the remaining basil, spinach, or sorrel and chives with the apples.
2. Add the organic salad greens, generous sprinklings of salt and pepper, the olive oil, remaining 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, and a little more honey. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with remaining herbs.
3. Make a high pile of salad next to it. Serve immediately