Recipe 55: Goat's Cheese Salad with Strawberries and Balsamic Dressing

Summer is at its best at the moment, which means that it is the perfect weather for refreshing salads full of seasonal products to eat for lunch. Thursday is market day here in Middelburg, which means all these fresh products will be sold for a relatively low price. If you shop at the right places, that is. I decided to walk there and get me some fresh fruit and vegetables, so I got home with some peaches, strawberries, lettuce, and zucchinis. I could hardly carry more, except for some lovely roasted nuts I bought. One was a savory mix of pumpkin seeds, pistachios, peanuts, and some other sorts of nuts, while the other was a sweet mix with cashews, peanuts, pecans, and most of all: loads of dried cranberries! I was in vegetarian heaven there (well, if I ignored the meat trucks, that is). I combined some of these newly bought goodnesses with one of my all time favorites: soft goat's cheese!

I am so fond of goat's cheese salad that I have to make sure I do not order it every time I go to a restaurant. It is very tempting, even though a good one can be very hard to find. I am very picky when it comes to the preparation of the cheese (soft and fresh, not dry or baked), the ingredients it comes with (nuts and fresh fruits of vegetables, none of that pickled or canned stuff), and the dressing it comes with (it needs to be a sweet one). But much easier and cheaper than buying one in a restaurant, is of course making it at home. Here is my recipe for what, in my opinion, is one of the best goat's cheese salads you will ever taste!
Ingredients
  • Balsamic vinegar - 1/4 cup
  • Sugar, cane - 1 tbsp
  • Lettuce, shredded - 2 cups
  • Goat's cheese, soft - 1 3/4 oz
  • Strawberries, fresh - 1/2 cup small halves or big quarters
  • Nuts, roasted - 1 to 2 tbsp
  • Cranberries, dried - 1 to 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper
The vinegar will probably be too much for one whole salad, but it is too hard to work with a smaller amount. You can keep this inside the fridge for a long time though, I would say up to a month - if not longer.
Instructions
  1. Make the dressing in a pan by heating up a pan and adding the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir very often, if not continuously. When it covers a spoon and does not drip off immediately, you know it is done. It is going to thicken up even more when it is cold. When you cook it for too long, it will become caramel - which does not taste bad at all, but we are making a dressing here. I would say cooking it for 3 or 4 minutes should be enough. Let it cool off completely.
  2. Once the balsamic dressing has cooled, all that is left to do is simply plating up! Wash and shred some lettuce, and put it in a bowl. Top with some dollops of the soft goat's cheese, halves or quarters of fresh strawberries, the nuts and cranberries, and season with some salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing on top.
I love how simple salads are to make! Of course the balsamic dressing is a little extra step, but it makes the whole thing that much better!

Enjoy this amazing meal if you are going to make it!

Liefs,

Debs.

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