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From the Chronicle Kitchen
A Pig in Provence: Goat Cheese Salad with Fried Bread

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Salade au fromage du chèvre avec croutons frites

When I’m in Provence, I make this salad all the time because I love the goat cheese there so much. I make it in California, too, but a medium-dry goat cheese is hard for me to find. Be sure to use extra-virgin olive oil for frying the bread. It makes a big difference.

Begin by frying a baguette slice or two in a little olive oil until golden, turning the bread once, and adding a clove or two of minced garlic. In a salad bowl, pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom in a thin layer. Add enough red wine vinegar to cover about a third of the olive oil, sprinkle in two or three pinches of coarse sea salt, and just slightly less freshly ground black pepper. Mix with a fork.

Next I add some torn leaves of escarole, frisée, lettuce, arugula, or whatever other greens I’ve bought at the market that morning or collected from the garden. When I’m making the salad for myself, I use about two big handfuls, three if it’s going to be my main dish. Finally, I put half of a demi-sec, or medium-dry, goat cheese—one that is about ten days old—under the broiler, cut-side down. Take the cheese out when it begins to melt slightly around the edges. After tossing the salad, I heap it onto a plate and sprinkle it with the crisp garlic. Arrange the fried baguette slices on the salad and, if it’s summer or early fall, add a thick slice of tomato, then slip the warm cheese on top.

Makes 1 serving

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