Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad with Almond and Basil Gremolata

The husband has been learning how to make cheese. I am learning how to gain weight.  Last week it was chevre, as featured here.  Then it was feta.  Now it's Valencay.

I approve of his new hobby.

Our refrigerator is filled with jugs of goat milk, our counter is covered in cheeses in the beginnings of their aging process, our shelves are becoming stacked with cheese molds, and the cooler rotates cheeses in and out, depending on their needed temperature.

And I am filling out my pants even further.

Enter salad for dinner.

His chevre is a beauty--creamy and slightly sweet--perfect for pairing with cherries.  And cherries are everywhere right now. So I have been soaking them in alcohol to make my own maraschino cherries, pitting them to make jam, and eating them in the backyard (spitting the pits into the grass in hopes that maybe one will sprout).

Add spinach, arugula, basil, and almonds, and people this salad is bitter, sweet, crunchy, and creamy.

Whether your cheese is homemade or store bought, this salad is perfect for a warm early summer evening.

Get pitting, people, there's a beautiful salad to be had.


Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad with Almond and Basil Gremolata

6 Servings 

For the cherries
3 cups cherries
2 Tbsp brandy or grappa
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper

For the gremolata 
1/3 cup blanched almonds
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
about 12 basil leaves

For the salad 
4 1/2 cups mache or baby spinach or arugula, or a mixture
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp fruity extra-virgin olive oil

5 1/2 ounces goat's cheese, crumbled into chunks
Salt and pepper

1. Prepare the cherries so that they can macerate. Pit them--pull them apart, use a knife, or use a pitter. The shape doesn't matter. Put in a bowl with the brandy, vinegar, oil, lemon juice and some salt and pepper and leave for anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

2. To make the gremolata toast the almonds in a dry skillet until golden. Transfer to a chopping board and leave to cool. Add the zest, garlic and basil to the board and chop everything finely.

3. Toss the greens, vinegar, oil and some seasoning. Gently mix in the goat cheese to coat it with the dressing. Arrange this on a platter or divide among smaller plates. Sprinkle the cherries with their macerating juice, then the gremolata, on top. Serve immediately.


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