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Alice Waters' Baked Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

Alice Waters' Baked Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

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You probably would never have guessed that Alice Waters and her “delicious revolution” crossed paths with Craig Claiborne and his butter counterreformation, but indeed they did. In 1981, Claiborne, who covered most of the twentieth century’s best culinary stories, also covered the early stages of what would become its most important crusade.

“Where American gastronomy is concerned,” Claiborne wrote, “there is one commodity that is rarer than locally grown black truffles or homemade foie gras. That is a chef of international repute who was born in the United States. Even rarer is such a celebrated chef who is a woman.”

Claiborne described Waters, whose name, he added, “may not be a household word,” as “a modest, diminutive, gamine-like figure with fingers that are astonishingly small, considering her métier.” As we now know, she wasn’t really destined for the kitchen anyway.

One of the dishes Claiborne ate the day he met Waters at Chez Panisse, which he called “a cunningly designed, somewhat raffish establishment,” was baked goat cheese with salad, which later became one of the iconic dishes of the decade. He included the recipe in his story and, two years later when reporting with Pierre Franey on the growing popularity of goat cheese, offered a slightly different version from Waters’s book "The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook." I made both, and while both are good, this one is marginally better (thyme in the bread crumbs, red wine vinegar rather than balsamic).

This dish can easily be mishandled, and it often is in mediocre restaurants, where the salad is soggy and the cheese a molten wad. This is not the occasion for bagged “mesclun.” Take the time to find great baby greens from a local farm or sturdy bunches of arugula, red leaf lettuce, mizuna and/or baby watercress.

This recipe was originally published in 1983.

Adapted from "The Essential New York Times Cookbook' by Amanda Hesser."


  • 4 rounds fresh goat cheese, about 2 ½ inches in diameter and about ½-inch thick
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme plus 1 teaspoon dried thyme for blending with the bread crumbs
  • 1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups lettuce leaves cut into bite-sized pieces (use greens such as arugula, red leaf lettuce, and so on)
  • Garlic toast slices, click here to see the recipe


Place the rounds of goat cheese in a flat dish and add ¼ cup oil. Add the thyme sprigs or sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Let stand for 8 hours, or longer refrigerated.

Blend the remaining teaspoon of dried thyme with the bread crumbs; set aside.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the cheese rounds from the oil and coat them all over with the bread-crumb-and-thyme mixture. Put them in an oiled baking dish and place in the oven. Bake for 6-10 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly bubbling and golden.

Meanwhile, blend the remaining ¼ cup oil with the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over
the salad greens and toss.

Serve the cheese on warm plates, surrounded by the garlic toast, with the salad.

Click here to see the Q&A with Amanda Hesser of The New York Times.

    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 3/4 C EVOO
    • 4 rounds fresh goat cheese 1/2" thick
    • 4 slices 1/4" day old baguette
    • 4 T butter melted
    • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
    • 3/4 C, fine breadcrumbs
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 2T red wine vinegar
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 6 C fresh mixed salad greens
    1. Mix fresh thume and 1/2 EVOO in deep dish large enough to hold goat cheese rounds in 1 layer. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. Turn cheese over and marinate 12 more hours. Bring to room temp. Preheat oven to 350. Spread baguette slices on baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake 8 min or until light brown. While warm, rub each pice with a cut clove of garlic. Mix together breadcrumbs and dried thyme. In a separate bowl, whisk vinegar, remaining EVOO and s &P to taste Increase oven to 400. Dip cheese rounds in bread crumb mix, then place on baking sheet lightly brushed with EVOO. Bake 8-10 min. Toss greens with vinaigrette to lightly coat. Evenly divide among 4 plates. Place cheese and croutons around

    Baked Goat Cheese Salad

    Delicious, warm, gooey baked goat cheese rounds that are perfect served atop mixed greens with a simple French vinaigrette dressing. Add a baguette and you have a fantastic summer meal.


    • 10 ounces, weight Log Of Goat Cheese
    • ¼ cups Plus 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil, Divided
    • ½ cups Panko Bread Crumbs
    • ¼ teaspoons Salt
    • 1 teaspoon Minced Parsley
    • Mixed Salad Greens


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Spray the bottom of a glass casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

    Cut the goat cheese into 1/2 inch thick slices and coat on all sides using 1/4 cup of olive oil.

    Combine bread crumbs, salt, parsley and the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and stir to combine.

    Coat each goat cheese round with bread crumb mixture and place in the prepared casserole dish.

    Place warm cheese rounds on top of mixed greens and drizzle with a French vinaigrette dressing.

    Baked Goat Cheese Salad

    2 1/2 inch slices of goat cheese

    1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

    2 tbs olive oil plus, plus 4 tbs for salad dressing

    1 5 oz container of salad greens (spinach or arugula are my favorite)

    Using a shallow dish like a small plate, drizzle 2 tbs of olive oil over goat cheese. Turn the goat cheese to make sure it is completely coated with oil. Place panko bread crumbs in a small bowl. Coat goat cheese in bread crumbs, pressing lightly to coat completely. Place goat cheese on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

    While the goat cheese bakes, mix the leftover bread crumbs and olive oil together, then toss with minced garlic. Set aside.

    After ten minutes, flip the goat cheese and bake for five more minutes. Add bread crumbs to the baking dish spread out in a single layer and cook for five more minutes.

    While toasting the bread crumbs, make the salad dressing by mixing the vinegar and soy sauce in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Slowely drizzle 4 tbs of olive oil into the bowl while whisking constantly until your salad dressing is completely incorporated, with the oil and vinegar mixture forming a smooth dressing. Add the salad greens to the bowl and toss.

    When the bread crumbs and cheese are done, toss salad with bread crumbs. Serve with goat cheese.

    Recipe: Alice Waters’ Baked Goat Cheese with Spring Lettuce Salad &mdash Recipes from The Kitchn

    I first visited Chez Panisse about ten years ago, a new cook stepping with some awe into what felt like a founding palace of American cuisine. But part of the beauty of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse is that for all its history and accolades it has remained what it was created to be: a bustling, cozy, unpretentious neighborhood bistro. And every time I’ve gone back, I’ve left inspired to cook more, and to cook better &mdash and what’s a better sign of a good restaurant than that?

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    Recipe: Baked Goat Cheese & Garden Lettuces

    This creamy, tangy recipe will make a salad lover out of nearly anyone. It’s so versatile, too. Use whatever greens you have on hand!

    Adapted from the recipe in “Chez Panisse Café Cookbook” by Alice Waters and published in The New York Times in January, 2010.

    Treat yourself and your body to this salad as a full meal, healthy snack, or an appetizer!


    8 ounces fresh goat cheese (1 log)
    1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
    1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
    Half of a sour baguette, preferably a day old
    1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive or walnut oil
    1/2 pound mixed lettuces


    1. Carefully slice the goat cheese into 8 discs about ½-inch thick. Pour 1 cup olive oil over the discs and sprinkle with the chopped herbs. Cover and store in a cool place for several hours or up to one week.

    2. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and put it in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until dry and lightly colored. Grate into fine crumbs on a box grater or in a food processor. If the crumbs are still soft, place them back in the oven for a few minutes until dry. The crumbs can be made in advance and stored until needed.

    3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (a toaster oven works well, too.) Remove the cheese discs from the marinade and roll them in the bread crumbs, coating them thoroughly. Place the discs on a small baking sheet and cook for about 6 minutes, until the cheese is warm.

    4. Measure the vinegars into a small bowl and add a big pinch of salt. Whisk in ¼ cup oil and a little pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Toss the lettuces lightly with just enough vinaigrette to coat and arrange on salad plates. Carefully place 2 discs of the baked cheese on each plate.


      • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
      • 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
      • 1 5.5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), cut into 4 equal rounds, chilled
      • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
      • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped hazelnuts
      • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
      • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
      • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
      • 1/4 cup olive oil
      • 1 large bunch watercress, stems trimmed
      • 1 large head Belgian endive, thinly sliced lengthwise

    Serving suggestions

    There are a few tasty ways you can serve these baked goat cheese balls.

    First up, they make an amazing salad topper! I absolutely adore them on my Blueberry Spinach Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing as well as on my Strawberry Kale Salad with balsamic dressing. SO GOOD!

    Next up, serve them as mini cheese balls as a party appetizer. Drizzle them with honey and serve with an assortment of crackers. Guests will get their own personal cheese ball to spread on crackers – no double dipping here!

    You can also serve them on a cheese board with an assortment of sliced cheeses, charcuterie, fresh fruit, and veggies with crackers, flatbreads, and crusty bread.

    Dining Tip: Chez Panisse Baked Goat Cheese With Garden Salad

    • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
    • 4 rounds fresh goat cheese (each about 4 ounces and 1/2-inch thick)
    • 4 slices (1/4-inch thick) from a day-old baguette
    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
    • 3/4 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 5 to 6 cups fresh mixed salad greens

    1. Mix the fresh thyme and half of the olive oil in a deep dish just large enough to hold the goat cheese rounds in one layer. Lay the goat cheese rounds in the marinade cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. Turn the cheese over and marinate another 12 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking.

    2. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

    3. Spread the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush with the melted butter. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until light brown. While the bread is still warm, rub each piece with a cut clove of garlic.

    4. Mix together the breadcrumbs and dried thyme. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

    5. Increase oven temperature to 400° F.

    6. Dip the cheese rounds in the breadcrumb mix, then place on a baking dish or sheet pan lightly brushed with olive oil. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly bubbling and golden brown.

    7. Toss the greens with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Evenly divide them among 4 dinner plates. Make a space in the middle of the greens, and with the more-browned side up, place the cheese over this opening, partially covering the greens. Arrange the croutons around the cheese. Serves 4.


    NE of the great pleasures of pursuing a single subject in life is the depth of perception one gains along the way. This is particularly so in a pursuit such as ours, food and its preparation and enjoyment. Documenting American taste over the last two decades has been both adventurous and amusing, as we have observed the trends, the fly-bynight fantasies, the ins and outs.

    We recall when fondues were very much in vogue. And beef Wellington. Both of them, for better or for worse, have gone by the boards. And it is hard to believe that quiche Lorraine was a relative newcomer on the gastronomic scene as recently as 20 years ago, and that, too, seems to have fallen into the meat-and-potato category as far as its novelty is concerned.

    One of the public's present predilections is goat cheese, better known in France as Chevre. A while back, most Americans simply ordered their goat cheeses by shape - cylinders, pyramids, rounds and the like. But today, it is not at all uncommon for the knowledgeable home cook to demand feta from Greece (one of the most popular and best known of goat cheese), Montrachet or crottin de Chavignol from France, or any of the several ''new'' California goat cheeses.

    Goat cheese, of course, usually is eaten cold with a crusty loaf, something to serve with salad. Alice Waters, the owner-chef of Chez Panisse in California, was one of the first to experiment with baked goat cheese in this country. As a result, she has become justly well known for her baked goat cheese with garden salad, a recipe we recently adapted in our kitchen.

    We also experimented further, and came up with broiled lamb chops topped with goat cheese and rosemary, and a goat cheese souffle with garlic.

    The recipe for the baked goat cheese is adapted from Alice Waters's ''The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook'' (Random House, 1982). Alice Waters's baked goat cheese with salad 4 rounds of fresh goat cheese, each about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick 3/4 cup virgin olive oil, plus oil for greasing the baking dish 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried, plus 1 additional teaspoon dried thyme for blending with bread crumbs 1 cup fine, fresh bread crumbs 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar Salt to taste, if desired Freshly ground pepper to taste 1 quart lettuce leaves cut into bitesize pieces (use such greens as arugula, red leaf lettuce and so on) 16 garlic toast slices (see recipe).

    1. Place the rounds of goat cheese in a flat dish and add onequarter cup of the oil. Add the thyme sprigs or sprinkle with one teaspoon dried thyme. Let stand eight hours or longer.

    2. Blend the remaining teaspoon dried thyme with the bread crumbs and set aside.

    3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    4. Remove the cheese rounds and coat them all over with the breadcrumb-and-thyme mixture. Put them in an oiled baking dish and place in the oven. Bake six to 10 minutes or until cheese is lightly bubbling and golden.

    5. Meanwhile, blend the remaining half cup of oil with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour this over the salad greens and toss.

    6. Serve the cheese on warm plates surrounded by garlic toast slices. Serve with the salad.

    Yield: Four servings. Garlic toast slices 24 thin slices crusty French bread, preferably cut from a small round loaf 8 tablespoons melted butter 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half.

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    2. Brush each slice of bread on both sides with melted butter. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake five to seven minutes or longer until bread is crisp and lightly browned.

    3. Rub each slice with a cut clove of garlic and serve warm.

    Yield: Four servings. Broiled lamb chops with goat cheese 4 loin lamb chops, about 1/2 pound each Salt to taste, if desired Freshly ground pepper to taste 1 tablespoon melted butter 12 tablespoons hard or medium-hard goat cheese, chopped or crumbled 1 teaspoon finely chopped dried rosemary 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley.

    1. Preheat the broiler to high.

    2. Roll the ''tail'' of each lamb chop into a compact circle. Secure the tails to the chops with toothpicks or other skewers.

    3. Sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Put the chops on a rack and place them under the broiler, the tops of the chops about four inches from the source of heat. Let cook seven to eight minutes or until well browned. If desired, leave the broiler door slightly ajar. Turn the chops and continue cooking on the second side four to five minutes. Brush the top of each with a little melted butter.

    4. Sprinkle the top of each chop with three tablespoons of cheese. Sprinkle each with one-quarter teaspoon of rosemary. Dribble the remaining butter evenly over the chops. Return the chops to the broiler, and let cook until cheese is piping hot and slightly melted, five minutes or less. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

    Yield: Four servings. Garlic and goat-cheese souffle 18 large cloves garlic, unpeeled 2 tablespoons butter, plus butter for greasing the souffle dishes 3 tablespoons flour 1 1/2 cups milk 1 tablespoon cornstarch 2 tablespoons water Freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 pound semihard goat cheese, crumbled, about 1 3/4 cups 6 eggs, separated.

    1. Place the garlic in a saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to the boil and let simmer about 40 minutes or until tender. Drain.

    2. Peel the garlic and put the cloves in a bowl. Mash well. There should be about one-quarter cup.

    3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    4. Butter four individual souffle dishes, each with a one-and-one-half-cup capacity. Chill.

    5. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. When blended, add the milk, stirring rapidly with the whisk. When thickened and smooth, remove from the heat.

    6. Blend the cornstarch and water, and stir into the sauce. Return to the heat, stirring, and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle with black pepper and cayenne. Add the cheese and garlic.

    7. Beat the egg yolks and add them to the mixture. Beat vigorously and bring barely to the boil. Remove from the heat and immediately scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl to prevent further cooking. Let cool briefly.

    8. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff. Add one-third of the whites to the cheese mixture and beat with a wire whisk. Add the remaining whites and fold them in, stirring from the bottom and sides.

    9. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into the individual dishes. Place the dishes on a baking sheet in the oven and bake 12 minutes until well puffed and brown.

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