Watercress with Goat Cheese Medallion "Snowflakes"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Now that you saw the pics from the Winter One-derland party, let's dish on the food! I tried to keep the white and winter theme for food and drink as well. First up, I knew I wanted to use goat cheese in some capacity. Perfectly white with irresistible tang, goat cheese was a perfect choice. I took the cheese and lightly molded it into medallion shapes, then took pine nuts I toasted in a shallow pan and pressed them in a snowflake pattern right on top. They sat atop a bed of tender and peppery watercress, dressed simply with good quality extra virgin olive oil and some good course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can make the medallions the night before, cover and refrigerate then put the rest of the salad together in literally less than 5 minutes. Not only a great dish for a winter party, but for any wintry meal in general. Enjoy!

Watercress with Goat Cheese Medallion "Snowflakes"
16 ounces fresh goat cheese -- recommend Montrachet
about 1/4 cup pine nuts
3 bunches fresh watercress, cut from roots
course sea salt -- recommend fleur de sel
freshly ground black pepper
good quality extra virgin olive oil

Take the cheese and leave out at room temperature. This will make it easier to mold. While the cheese comes to temperature, toast the pine nuts. Take a shallow pan and place on low heat. Add the pine nuts directly into the pan (no need for oil or butter; as they warm they will release their own natural essential oils to help themselves brown) and cook on low heat, turning often until lightly toasted. Use a spatula to help you. Once toasted, promptly remove from the pan so they won't continue to cook and burn.

Form the goat cheese into medallions -- I did about 1" diameter medallions but you can make them as big or small as you'd like. Take the pine nuts and press them into a snowflake pattern. Remember, all snowflakes are different! So don't worry about being super precise or uniform!

Take a sheet pan or plate and layer a bit of plastic wrap. Gently transfer your medallions to the plastic wrap (or parchment paper is fine too), cover and refrigerate. Even if you plan to serve the salad soon, it's best to serve the goat cheese chilled.

When you're ready to serve the salad, layer out the watercress into a nice platter. Season with salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil. Gently add the goat cheese medallions right on top straight from the fridge, and serve!

Serving Suggestion: I like using tongs or a simple fork and spoon to make it easy to grab a bit of watercress and medallion together all at once. Just a spoon may be a bit clumsy!

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