Grilled Salad with Fresh Goats' Cheese
I had some vegetables in the refrigerator that were calling my name (needing to be used.) I had some pancetta needing to be sautéed (why not?) I had a hankering for some fresh mint/olive infused goat cheese (it's summer.) Ready? Here we go.
The grilling vegetables part is about grilling vegetables. No big deal.
Let's start with the cheese:
FRESH GOATS' CHEESE
Yield: about 1/2 pound
1 quart goats' milk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely minced
· In a stainless steel or enameled pan, combine the milk and the lemon juice.
· Over the lowest heat possible, warm the mixture to 200 degrees. This will take 30-35 minutes. This recipe is written for high altitude. At sea level or below 3,000 feet warm the milk to 205 degrees. We're always adjusting recipes to high altitude here in Colorado. Now it's YOUR turn.
· Stir only a few times during the first few minutes to keep the curds small and delicate. You will see the milk bubble up and separate into white curds and thin, milky whey.
· Turn off the heat and let stand, undisturbed for 10 minutes.
· Line a fine-mesh sieve or colander or bowl strainer with a double thickness of cheesecloth. Set over a larger bowl.
· Pour the mixer slowly through the cheesecloth lined strainer catching the large white curds and letting the whey drain into the bowl below.
· Sprinkle the cheese with salt and fresh mint leaves and let rest, undisturbed until it has thoroughly drained, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl.
· Using a spatula, break up the cheese to distribute the salt and mint.
· Serve warm, or spoon into molds and refrigerate for 2 or 3 days.
This cheese may be used in any recipes calling for fresh cheese, drained yogurt, or ricotta.
I also added some chopped black olives in with the mint. Lemon zest would be a nice addition, or oregano, or...
Now, sprinkle a little olive oil and salt over the vegetables of your choice. I went with zucchini, bell pepper, leeks, asparagus, mushrooms and I even threw cut lemons onto the grill to use in the citrus vinaigrette.
I tossed the cooled, grilled, cut up vegetables with some Boston lettuce, the fresh cheese, and sautéed pancetta. Then dressed it with a citrus vinaigrette which I made with the lemon juice and olive oil, and okay, the fat rendered from the pancetta.