Sometimes inconspicuous food discoveries have a huge impact on your daily diet. My latest find is a real keeper, in fact, I stock up on it at least twice a week…
The few reservations I had against anything goat cheese are all history, long ago, yet it was rarely seen on our dinner table. For years now goat cheese has virtually been my welcome appetizer I chose at restaurants, baked in phyllo dough and crepes or on top of a fresh salad. Just about until I had the pleasure making the acquaintance with my dear new friends, les bûchettes de chèvre. That said, I feel the urge to elaborate:
First flirting took place at an informal dinner at our friends Hande & Theo’s place. Wait, to put things straight, an informal dinner at their place is always a challenge – to all intents and purposes. Just about after their trip across Thailand and Laos, we’d been invited to join the two for some Asian food – read: six fantastic courses (or seven? eight?), seven hours and ten bottles of wine later we understood the definition of an informal dinner.
So we had a guess that her latest invitation for a lamb dinner, wouldn’t confine itself to just the lamb. There they were. Les bûchettes de chèvre, on a salad to remember. I took two bites and split second later was ready to whip out my already internalized phrase: “Mind sharing the recipe?” But I didn’t. Well, not exactly anyway. Taking a few more bites, this simple, yet wonderful salad revealed almost everything that was in it, so I asked about the few things I wasn’t sure of: The dressing, with pomegranate syrup as a key ingredient and the little cheese bites on top, the aforementioned bûchettes de chèvre.
The very next weekday I headed to town I was on a mission, but surprisingly wasn’t successful at Kaufhof (Marienplatz), which actually carries a quite impressive cheese assortment. Viktualienmarkt was next on my list and a small cheese stall (Käse Lupper) abruptly ended my quest and left me with a big smile. With respect to our overgrowing vinegar population, I abandoned the idea of additionally getting pomegranate syrup – knowing that there would be a nice bottle of thick, aged Aceto Balsamico anxious to be used.
What can I say, this salad is THE perfect salad: easy and quick to prepare, nutty, fruity, crunchy, all at the same time, with an occasional soft spot: bûchette de chèvre is wonderfully mild and tasty, a beginner’s cheese if you will (for goat cheese skeptics) – either way, beginner or not, this salad will leave a permanent impression!
Wash an clean the lamb’s lettuce and use a salad spinner to get rid off any excess water.
Roast the pumpkin seeds in a pan until you hear crackling sounds and they take on a nice brown color – but not too dark.
Wash the pear (no need to peel it), chop them in quarters, remove the core, then cut them in thin slices. Cut les bûchettes in slices, too.
Arrange all ingredients on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, thick, aged Aceto Balsamico, freshly ground pepper and coarse sea salt and become addicted!
What else to do with them?
Baking them snugly wrapped up inside a small layer of (store-bought) puff pastry resulted in a small golden packet with luscious and gooey cheese filling, making another excellent appetizer. Realizing an aching (cheese-) void in my fridge last weekend produced another idea. I had already sautéed spring onions and bacon for a quick quiche, but no cheese – what to do? Since our neighbors didn’t have any either, I was feeling pretty bummed, until I discovered two left over bûchettes, which bravely jumped in – pun intended – and on top added more personality to a regular quiche.
Recipe source: Inspired by our friend Hande
Prep time: 15min.
lamb’s lettuce, washed and cleaned
pumpkin seeds, roasted
pears, cored and finely sliced
bûchettes de chèvre (little goat cheeses, formed like a cigar)
aged Aceto Balsamico
coarse sea salt
freshly ground pepper