Cherry And Mesclun Salad With Pecan Encrusted Goat Cheese

This is a lovely salad. Lovely to look at and lovely to eat. My favorite salads usually have quite a few flavor profiles and textures. This one has them all. Crunchy toasted pecans, creamy warm goat cheese, sweet and juicy cherries that burst  in your mouth, mild baby greens and a really delicious dressing. This makes for a nice light dinner, or a first course for a larger meal.

adapted from: Bon Appétit
serves: 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
¾ cup pecans, finely chopped, plus ½ cup or so roughly chopped pecans
1 large egg
2 tsp. water
one 11 oz log soft fresh goat cheese cut crosswise into 6 rounds
6 cups (packed) baby greens and/or baby spinach
1 cup pitted & halved Bing cherries (about 7 oz. whole unpitted cherries)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Whisk first five ingredients in a small bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread the ¾ cup finely chopped pecans on a dinner plate. Whisk egg and water in a small bowl. Dip the goat cheese rounds into the egg mixture, then coat with the pecans, covering all sides. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake goat cheese rounds until warmed, but not melted, about 10 minutes.

Combine greens, cherries, ½ cup roughly chopped pecans in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Place a scoop of salad mixture on each plate, top with the warmed goat cheese rounds, and serve.

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