Happy weekend. Finally Summer is here and I know I'm not the only one who's totally ready for some warmth and sunshine. I'm craving light salads and simple dishes. I made this pistachio crusted goat cheese dish for lunch yesterday after eating a very similar dish while dining out on Friday. I was at a lunch in Fire Restaurant in Dublin and the stand out dish as my starter of Ardsallagh Goats Cheese crusted with pistachios and pecan nuts on a focaccia cruton with pickled beets and chestnut honey. It was so good that I decided I'd try and recreate my own, somewhat adapted version at home and this is the result. It's so simple, but tastes so good, combining some of my favourite ingredients; pistachios, goat cheese, beetroot, honey and balsamic. It's neither ingredient nor labour intensive making it a perfect appetiser or light lunch. I teamed it with a rye cracker for lunch yesterday and it went down a treat.
1 200g goat cheese log
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, deshelled
1/2 cup beetroot relish*
1.5 tbsp honey
1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 190C / Gas 5. Place the pistachio nuts on a baking tray in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove and roughly chop.
Cut the goat cheese log into 4 even pieces and coat the round side and top of each piece with chopped pistachios, lightly pressing the chopped pistachios into the cheese. Place the coated goat cheese rounds on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
While the goat cheese is in the oven, divide the spinach leaves between four serving plates. Place a tablespoon of beetroot relish on each plate.
Remove the goat cheese rounds from the oven and place one on each plate. To finish, mix the honey and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the spinach leaves and goat cheese. Season each plate with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Serve immediately.
*For the beetroot relish, I recommend Mooncoin Beetroot Relish which is really very good and worth sourcing. If you can't get your hands on it, try pickled beetroot or even plain beetroot, cut into cubes.