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French Green Bean Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

French Green Bean Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
Serves 4

When I’m in Paris, I love to have a big salad with warm goat cheese for lunch. By wrapping the cheese in phyllo dough and baking it, I end up with a delicious package that’s crispy on the outside with creamy goat cheese inside. A cold salad with French string beans is the perfect counterpoint.

12 to 16 ounces Bûcheron goat cheese
8 (8-1/2 x 14-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Plain dry bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound French string beans, trimmed
1/2 cup good olive oil, at room temperature
1-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
8 ounces mesclun mix or salad greens

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Score the goat cheese rind at 1/2-inch intervals and make 4 slices by pulling dental floss through the log. Place the stack of phyllo dough sheets on a cutting board and cover it with a slightly damp towel. Place one sheet of phyllo on the board, brush it with butter, and sprinkle it with 3/4 teaspoon of bread crumbs. Place a second sheet of phyllo on top, brush it with butter, and sprinkle it with bread crumbs, continuing until you have 4 sheets of phyllo stacked up. Cut the phyllo in half crosswise to make two (7 x 8-1/2-inch) rectangles.

Place a slice of goat cheese in the middle of one stack of phyllo, fold a corner diagonally over the cheese, and pleat the rest of the dough up and around the cheese, enclosing it completely. Place the package, folded side up, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat the process, until you have 4 packages filled with goat cheese. Brush the packages all over with melted butter, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the string beans. Simmer for exactly 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain immediately and immerse the beans in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, shallots, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in the dill and set aside.

Bake the goat cheese packages for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Toss the string beans and mesclun with enough dressing to moisten. Divide the salad among 4 lunch plates, top each with a warm goat cheese package, and serve immediately.

MAKE IT AHEAD: Assemble the goat cheese packages, cook the beans, and prepare the salad and vinaigrette; refrigerate separately for up to 2 days. Before serving, bake the cheese packages, combine the salad and vinaigrette, and serve.

French string beans are also called haricots verts.
I use Athens phyllo dough.


Slicing Cheese with Floss


Phyllo Dough

Cheese Packets

Ready to Bake

Baked Cheese Packets

Blanching Green Beans

Shocking the Green Beans

Greens and Dressing Ingredients

Prepping Shallots and Dill

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