Mild goat cheese baked in a crumb crust is a fine partner for crisp, dark greens; the addition of herbes de Provence takes it beyond the expected.
• 2 five- or six-ounce rounds of chèvre cheese, sliced crosswise into thirds to make 6 rounds
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
• 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
• 1 bunch spinach (about 12 ounces)
• 1 bunch watercress (about 8 ounces)
Thoroughly coat the cheese rounds with oil. Mix the bread crumbs and herbs and press them all over the cheese rounds. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour. Wash, trim stems, and dry the spinach and watercress. Refrigerate until ready to use.
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 teaspoons dijon-style mustard
• 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
• 1 sweet red pepper, cut in strips
Combine all ingredients except the red pepper. Just before serving, bake the breaded chèvre rounds in an oven preheated to 400°F for 5 to 10 minutes, or until warm and softened. Combine the greens with the dressing and divide among six plates. Place the warm cheese rounds in the center of each plate and garnish with the red pepper strips.
Terri Wuerthner lives in Santa Rosa, California, where she draws on the legendary fresh produce of the region for inspiration.