Toasted Goat Cheese with Blackened Sherry-Vinegar Onions
Toasted goat cheese became very fashionable in the 1990s, which is not surprising since it's supremely good, especially prepared this way, just on the point of melting. The blackened onions make a great accompaniment - lots of lovely gutsy flavor.
- 2 x 4 oz soft-rind goat cheese
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 lb. large, mild Spanish onions (about 3)
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar or molasses sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small Boston lettuce
- 2 oz arugula, stalks removed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoons mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
You will also need a shallow baking pan measuring approximately 10 x 14 inches for the onions, and a baking sheet, lightly oiled, for the goat cheese.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Begin this by roasting the onions: first you need to mix the sugar and vinegar together in a large bowl and give it a good whisk, then set it to one side for 10 minutes or so for the sugar to dissolve. Meanwhile, peel the onions, then, leaving the root intact, cut each one into 8 sections through the root (in half first and then each half into 4). Add the onions and oil to the vinegar and sugar mixture and toss them around so they get a good coating. After that, spread them out in the baking pan, pouring the rest of the dressing over them and season well. Now, place them on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 15 minutes; after that turn them over and give them another 15 minutes. Toward the end of the cooking time, check them and remove and set aside any of them that are in danger of over-blackening. Continue to cook the rest until they are all fairly dark, then remove them from the oven and set aside-they're not meant to be served hot.
When you are ready to serve the salad, preheat the broiler to its highest setting for at least 10 minutes. Then make the vinaigrette dressing by first crushing the garlic and salt to a creamy paste using a mortar and pestle; then work in the mustard. Now, switch to a whisk and add the vinegars and oil, then season with freshly ground black pepper. Next, slice each goat cheese in half so that you have four rounds, and season these with freshly ground black pepper. Now place the cheese rounds on the oiled baking sheet and broil them 3 inches from the heat for 5-7 minutes, until they are brown on top and soft.
While they're broiling, arrange some lettuce leaves on each serving plate and divide and scatter the arugula between them. Then, when the cheese is ready, place one in the middle of each plate, scatter the onion all around the cheese, and, finally, drizzle the vinaigrette dressing over each salad. Needless to say, lots of crusty bread should be available.