Tomato Steak with Baked Goat Cheese and Herb Salad
- 1/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs
- Gray salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 4 rounds fresh goat cheese, about 2 ounces each
- 4 thick, ripe beefsteak tomato slices
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the salad
- 2 cups lightly packed mixed tender fresh herb leaves such as basil, chervil, tarragon, Italian flat-leaf parsley, chives (1-inch lengths), or young cress
- Red wine vinegar
In a small, shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs with salt and pepper, to taste. In another small, shallow bowl, beat the egg just until blended. Dip each goat cheese round in the egg, and then in bread crumbs, patting the crumbs in place. Cover and refrigerate the coated cheese rounds for about 15 minutes.
Center the tomato slices on 4 salad plates and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat and pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is almost smoking, add the cheese rounds. Cook until lightly browned, about 45 seconds. Turn them over and cook on the other side until the cheese just feels quivery, about 45 seconds longer, depending on the thickness of the rounds. Place a cheese round on each tomato slice.
In a bowl, toss the herbs with a light drizzle of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper, to taste. Mound the herbs on top of the cheese, dividing them evenly. Serve immediately.
Michael's Notes: This salad looks best when the tomato slice and the goat cheese slice are about the same size. So if you can only find goat cheese in small logs, you may want to serve 2 goat cheese rounds to each diner and perch them on slices of smaller tomatoes.
Be sure you take all the stems off the herbs carefully so your guests can enjoy just the soft leaves.