Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Restaurant (Re)creation: Contigo's Seared Goat Cheese, Arugula + Strawberry Salad

I live a block away from Contigo and it is one of my absolute favorite spots.  I love that the menu always changes, but many of the standbys stay the same.  One dish that thankfully rarely leaves the menu is the seared Caña de Cabra goat cheese salad.  I love the creaminess of the seared goat cheese, the crunch of the toasts and hazelnuts, and the tangy and sweet salad that lies beneath.  I was lucky enough to come across Brett Emerson's recipe for this salad in the Wall Street Journal.  Now that I have it, I will be making it on a regular basis.  It looks so impressive topped with crispy seared goat cheese and like it came straight down from heaven.  Enjoy!

Serves 2


  • 4 oz. Caña de Cabra (or other mild, young goat cheese)
  • 4 small 1/4-inch think slices of rustic bread (I use Judy's Lovesticks)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing toasts
  • kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp. minced shallot
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. hazelnut oil
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and thinly slice crosswise
  • 3-4 oz. wild arugula
  • 4 oz. strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 4 basil leaves, roughly torn


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place bread slices on a baking sheet.
-Brush both sides with olive oil and bake in the oven until golden, about 3 minutes per side.
-Remove from oven, set aside and preheat broiler. 
-Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallots and salt.
-Let the shallots macerate for at least 10 minutes.
-Then whisk in the olive oil and hazelnut oil, season with salt, and set aside.
-In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, fennel, strawberries, hazelnuts, and basil.
-Slice the cheese into two rounds and place on top of two toasts each.  
-Place under the broiler and broil until cheese begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
-Toss salad with enough vinaigrette to coat and season with salt.
-Distribute salad onto two plates and place a warm goat cheese toast atop each helping.

1320 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 285-0250

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