Warm Manchego Cheese Salad

4 servings
  • 1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 (8-ounce) piece manchego (the medium aged variety - it should not be too hard), rind removed and cut into 4 equal rounds
  • 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 freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 ounces mesclun, or other salad greens, rinsed and spun dry
  • 2 small oranges, segmented
  • 1/2 cup toasted pinenuts
  • 4 ounces Serrano ham, chiffonade
  • Fresh baby parsley sprigs, garnish
  • Chives, 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 F.

  • 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.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

  • Yield: about 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

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