Warm Manchego Cheese Salad
- 1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds
- 1 teaspoon Essence (see Bayou Blast recipe)
- 1 piece manchego - (8 oz) rind removed and cut into 4 equal rounds (the medium-aged variety - it should not be too hard)
- 1 egg white beaten
- 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, chives, basil, and marjoram)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 6 ounces mesclun rinsed, spun dry (or other salad greens)
- 2 small oranges segmented
- 1/2 cup toasted pinenuts
- 4 ounces Serrano ham cut chiffonade
- Fresh baby parsley sprigs for garnish
- Chives for garnish
In a food processor, pulse the bread crumbs, almonds, and Essence until the nuts are ground, being careful not to over-grind. Place in a shallow dish.
Dip the cheese slices in the egg white, then into the bread crumb mixture, turning to coat on all sides and pressing to adhere. Place on a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, combine the vinegar, shallots, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the oil, whisking to make an emulsion.
Place the greens and orange segments in a large bowl and toss lightly with dressing to taste. Adjust seasoning to taste. Divide among 4 salad plates.
On a small, lightly greased baking sheet, bake the cheese rounds until golden brown and softened, about 5 minutes. Remove and transfer 1 round to each salad. Sprinkle the pine nuts and ham over the top of each salad, and garnish with the parsley sprigs and chives.
Serve immediately with warm croutons.
This recipe yields 4 servings.