Few weather events can disrupt your plans when you live in Hawaii—outside of rain. And, if you’re flexible, that rain doesn’t muck up too much unless it pours for days on end, as it could in the event of a tropical storm. Then you may begin to believe your entire island has been waterboarded, and you’d cop to anything for a beach day.
We can usually rationalize all the time spent indoors with rousing games of Canasta and pin-the-tail-on-the-poodle; however, when Darby recently struck, we’d made grand plans to host our friend Charlotte from the mainland—a day filled with north-shore shenanigans, multiple beach stops, food trucks, and a night of private-room karaoke. As the storm loomed, we canceled each plan one by one, even abandoning karaoke by by the time the sheets of rain sounded 7pm. Luckily, our backup plan consisted of copious amounts of wine and a pantry brimming with storm rations. Thus this salad, a riff on this spinach recipe from our archives, erupted fully formed from my skull like Athena from her daddy Zeus. Or something way less gross.
This salad lives or dies by its warm goat cheese medallion, accompanied by leafy greens and fruit, then dressed by fatty, vinegary, ambrosia (read: bacon vinaigrette). I love it so much, I want to marry it. I wanna take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant. I want to sequester myself with it during every tropical storm from now on, and I’m not sharing.
Unless you brought wine, in which case we’ll talk.
- Leafy greens to serve 4-6
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1 whole peach, sliced
- Crispy shallots, for garnish
- 8 ounces of goat cheese, in log form
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
- 6 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into half inch strips
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 2 tbsps of Dijon mustard
- ½ cup of quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
- Zest of one lemon (optional)
- Before assembling, let the goat cheese rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes to make it pliable.
- Cut the goat cheese into 8 discs, or more if you prefer a smaller medallion. Using your hands, form the discs into uniform shapes.
- Dip each disc into the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Once completed, discard the egg wash and breadcrumbs, and return the medallions to the refrigerator to firm up. Let them sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- Once properly chilled, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, cook the medallions in batches, about 1 minute per side. You are looking to thoroughly warm the goat cheese without melting it, so it should be soft and delicate when you remove it from heat. Serve immediately over the salad.
- In a separate sauté pan, cook the sliced bacon over medium heat, rendering the fat and cooking until crispy. Set bacon aside. Remove all bacon fat except two tablespoons and keep the sauté pan on the heat. (Use the cooked bacon in the salad when assembling)
- Add the olive oil and shallots to this pan and cook for two minutes, letting them brown and soften.
- Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Lower the heat to low, and add the Dijon mustard and the sugar, and keep stirring it all together until combined and the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, stirring to get all the brown bits from the bottom,and remove from heat almost immediately after adding the vinegar.
- Serve immediately by pouring over the salad.
- If you like a little more zing to your dressing, add the lemon juice with the balsamic vinegar. Reserve the lemon zest until you serve, and sprinkle it over the whole salad.