Some things do not photograph well. A few people would say casseroles, other might chirp brown goulash. We’re going to say hunks of melted cheese. Melted brie slices to be exact. Especially when they are plopped onto a bed of greens, and all the cheese goodness just droops down into the lettuce. As we’ve learned, not everything can look pretty. By no means should that lead you to believe it is not tasty. Although we do initially taste with the eyes, sometimes you have to excuse a dishes appearance and accept that deep down inside, it is beautiful too. So beautiful that your plate will be scraped, licked, and wiped clean of anything that used to resemble the ugly duckling of a meal. That is where this salad lies–the pond of ugly duckling foods. Please take our word for it when we say it tastes much better than it looks.
We originally thought this salad would be awesome with goat cheese. We went to Trader Joe’s, saw a cheese round, picked it up and got home to get cooking. It wasn’t until the meal was underway that we did a double take at the wrapper and saw that what we thought was a hunk of goat’s cheese was actually goat’s milk brie. Dang you, Joe, and your trickery! When people are hungry, tired and impatient, you can’t expect them to be able to read correctly. If there is a goat on the package and the word goat in the title, they will see what they want to see! With no time or desire to do a swamp, brie it was. And honestly, Joe did not disappoint. He must’ve known that this would actually turn out to be a profitable mistake. Dang you, Joe, and your genius! Though it looks a little funky, we really do think you’d agree it’s super tasty. You can use your fave vinaigrette to vamp it up, so we stirred up a quick and easy honey dijon dressing.
Candied Pine Nut Crusted Brie Salad – Serves 2
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces brie
1. In a small sauce pan, heat butter until it melts , then toss in pine nuts. Add brown sugar, cumin, cayenne and salt and stir to combine.
2. Once brown sugar has melted and nuts are fully coated, slide onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer to cool.
3. Once nuts have cooled, dump them into a food processor and chop until they form small crumbles. Pour onto a small plate.
4. Slice brie into four pieces* and press two sides of the cheese into the nuts, coating both sides completely.
5. Heat a swirl of olive oil in a pan. When hot, add the cheese, cooking both sides just until almost browned. (Brie melts quickly, so don’t leave it in the pan long. A few seconds on each side should do.)
Honey Dijon Dressing – Approx. 1 cup
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1. Whisk apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, ginger and garlic until well combined.
2. Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking until all the ingredients are combined. Salt to taste if desired.
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