Those instructions could have come from this week’s recipe card for Frisee and Farro Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, a tasty vegetarian main. But in fact the words are paraphrased from a 1983 New York Times article about the ascendance of goat cheese, written by Craig Claiborne, then the paper’s food critic. After this piece, warm goat cheese salad jumped from the tables of fancy French chefs and landed on stoves in American home kitchens, thanks to Claiborne and to Alice Waters, who put the dish on her Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse.
When he wrote this article, Claiborne had just tasted Waters’ salad. He called goat cheese consumption a trend.
“One of the public’s present predilections is goat cheese,” he wrote, “better known in France as Chevre.”
Claiborne was right to publish the recipe for warm goat cheese, but he was wrong about one thing. Warm, breaded, melty goat cheese simply does not go out of style. This salad was not a trend. By the 90s, the salad seemed to be on every menu, often paired with nuts and fruit, and the dish persists in bistros and fine restaurants to this day.
We wanted to make sure the phenomenon made it to your kitchen, too, with a thoroughly modern twist. Favas, frisee, and farro distinguish our version.
In the original French concept, salad au chevre chaud, rounds of goat cheese are sliced and melted onto pieces of bread, which then rest on a bed of greens. But in the Alice Waters interpretation, the style that inspired our salad, breadcrumbs actually coat the cheese, lending crispness to every bite, in contrast to the creamy interior. It’s important to be sure that the breadcrumbs stick to the cheese, so we dip the rounds in flour, milk and panko.
For our salad, we’re sending customers goat cheese already sliced into rounds, but if you make the recipe on your own, try this unusual tip: use unwaxed dental floss to cut neat rounds of goat cheese from a log.
Another helpful practice, if you have a few extra minutes, is to freeze the breaded rounds for a few minutes before frying them. This helps to keep the breadcrumbs on the goat cheese as you cook.