spring is here: variations on lamb’s lettuce and goat’s cheese

lamb’s lettuce (or rapunzel, as we also call it in german … yes, as in the fairy tale!) is a main ingredient whenever i prepare salads, i do like its nuttiness. usually i use the whole plant (including the small root) but whenever i can be bothered, i pick the leaves one by one – but those occasions are rare. make sure you wash it thoroughly and then dry it slightly, otherwise you might end up with either a sandy or a watery salad.

obviously using goat’s cheese (grilled goat’s cheese is manna from heaven!) makes those quite non-vegan, but the flavour of the cheese is just so wonderful and makes it a superb light vegetarian dish.

variations are many, i shall limit myself to two versions, but feel free to vary and play around with ingredients.

GRILLED GOAT’S CHEESE WITH RED ONION CONFIT ON LAMB’S LETTUCE, ENDIVES AND PINK GRAPEFRUIT

goats cheese

ingredients (salad) – will serve one as a main or two as a starter:

  • 2 handful of lamb’s lettuce (thoroughly washed)
  • 1 small endive
  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 1 goat’s cheese (i like crottin best, but a slice or two of bucheron works as well)
  • 2 tbsp mild extra vergine olive oil
  • 1tsp balsamic vinegar (use a vintage one that is quite sweet in taste)
  • a small handful of walnuts (lightly toasted)
  • fleur de sel, chili flakes

ingredients (red onion confit):

  • 2 large sized red onions (about the size of a small fist each)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or use butter, if you like)
  • fleur de sel, chili flakes
  • 1-2 tsp bitter orange marmalade
  • dash of vintage balsamic vinegar

prepare the confit in advance, as it needs to cool down. you will get enough for a small kilner jar and can store the rest in the fridge, it goes very nicely with some cheeses!

peel and chop the onions in small dices. in a saucepan, heat the oil or butter and add the onion dices and a pinch or two of fleur de sel, stir well and cover the pot. let the onions stew on a small heat so they cook but do not brown. stir occasionally to prevent sticking. by slow cooking you will get a wonderful sweetish aroma of the onions!

once they are softened, but not complete mush, remove from the stove and stir in the bitter orange marmalade and a dash or two of the balsamic vinegar – this gives the confit a nicely fruity note. season with more fleur de sel, if needed, and chili flakes to taste. set aside and leave to cool down.

for the salad, wash the endive cut it in half lengthwise, remove the bitter stalk with a sharp knife and cut the rest in smallish strips. mix with the washed and de-rooted lamb’s lettuce. filet the grapefruit (the video via the link will show you how) and quence out all juice from the remaining bits of the fruit into a small bowl (you will need this for the salad dressing). arrange the endive, the lamb’s lettuce and the grapefruit filets on a plate.

for the salad dressing, mix the grapefruit juice with the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. season with a pinch of fleur de sel.

cut the goat’s cheese (crottin) in half and put under the grill to lightly grill it on top – if you are using bucheron then use one slice per person.

arrange the grilled goat’s cheese on the salad and splash it all with the salad dressing. add a good dollop of red onion confit on each half of the cheese and sprinkle the walnut pieces around. to finish it off, decorate with chili flakes for colour and taste. serve immediately, the cheese should still be warm!

 

GRILLED GOAT’S CHEESE WITH LAMB’S LETTUCE, MANGO AND AVOCADO

goats cheese 2

ingredients – will serve one as a main course or two as a starter:

  • 3 handful of lamb’s lettuce (thoroughly washed)
  • half a mango
  • half an avocado
  • 1 goat’s cheese (see recipe above for varieties)
  • 2 tbsp mild extra vergine olive oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • fleur de sel, chili flakes

even though you only need half a mango, you need to prepare a whole mango as you need some of the juice as well. half the mango and cut off all flesh from the stone (see video) – store half the mango away (or eat it ad dessert!). dice half of the mango, also press the stone and remaining flesh with your hands (yes, it is a bit messy) and save the juices in a small bowl.

dice half of the avocado as well and arrange together with the diced mango and the lamb’s lettuce leaves on a plate.

for the dressing, mix the mango juice with the olive oil and the lime juice. season with a pinch of fleur de sel.

half the goat’s cheese (see recipe above as well) and put it under the grill. grill it until it gebings to lightly brown on top and starts to diverge slightly. remove from grill and let it cool down a bit , otherwise it will be too runny to put on the salad.

add the warm grilled cheese on top of the salad and splash the dressing on top. as before, decorate with chili flakes – they add colour and spice.

this salad is very fruity and the nuttiness of the lettuce, the tropical aroma of the mango and the green smoothness of the avodace combine very well with the mild tartness of the goat’s cheese. this is vegetarian aroma-heaven!!!

should you prefer a vegan option with this second salad than add some chopped toasted and salted pistacho nuts instead of the goat’s cheese! go with what you like, that is always the best way. in cooking and preparing there is never a ‘no way’ but always a ‘do it your own way’ 🙂

 

 

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