Some time ago we went for a weekend to Girona, a lovely Catalan city just 1h30min far from Barcelona. In one of the restaurants we had dinner at, called “Vinil“, I tried a delicious goat cheese salad. I’m a huge fan of goat cheese and the combination of caramelized cheese, apples, green salad and caramelized onions blew me away!
I decided to make a similar version and I have to say I was very satisfied with the result!
The part that requires the most cooking is the caramelization of the onions, therefore start with that. Cut the onions first in the middle and then slice them lengthwise in order to obtain strips. Heat the olive oil in a deep, wide frying pan, drop the onions and mix so that the oil coats them. Add some salt and let the onions cook, stirring from time to time. Set the fire to medium to avoid burning the onions. (I use a gas stove top and I find it necessary to reduce the fire).
When the onions begin to brown add a teaspoon of brown sugar. This step is optional, but the sugar assists the caramelization and I personally find the extra sweetness delicious.
If you are afraid that the onions have dried out and will burn, but still are not brown enough, you can add a bit of olive oil. All the times I’ve tried this process I never had to do that. I feel the onions have enough water by themselves to resist.
Continue cooking, scratching the bottom of the pan if needed, until you end up with brown, extra soft, amazing onions! To finish up, you can (optional again, but great result) pour a bit of balsamic vinegar to deglaze.
(Note that caramelized onions can be stored in the fridge for several days)
The second thing that needs cooking is the caramelized goat cheese. I am pretty sure that the restaurant version of the cheese was prepared with a butane torch, which I sadly do not own (yet). What the torch method managed to achieve was a very crunchy sweet outer layer and a soft warm heart to die for…
Another important thing is to use quite thick medallions of goat cheese. Mine were small and they flattened a bit. Anyway, the end result was very tasty.
Preheat the oven (broiler) at 240ºC (460ºF). Place the goat cheese in an oven dish and sprinkle some sugar on top of each medallion. I used brown sugar, you can obviously use white.
Put it in the oven and let it cook until the sugar melts and becomes crunchy.
You can now slice thinly the green apple. Don’t do this very early or it will become black.
Start preparing the dressing. I’m not sure if we omitted something compared to the restaurant version, but it was quite clear that the olive oil dressing had walnuts inside. So, put 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a small food processor together with 2 walnuts and a pinch of salt. Mix well. You can add extra oil or extra walnuts according to how thin/thick you like the dressing.
Now it’s time to assemble the salad! Place the apple slices at the bottom of a wide flat dish. Then spread a mix of green salad on top. With a tablespoon drizzle the dressing on top of the salad. Add the caramelized onions here and there. Drizzle some cream of balsamic vinegar. Place the warm goat cheese on top.
Serve like you’re a superstar!
Have a nice day!
For the caramelized onions (original recipe seen on Simply Recipes)
4-5 large yellow onions
1 tbsp of olive oil per onion
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
For the salad (thanks Vinil for the inspiration!)
2 or more thick goat cheese medallions
1 green apple (i.e. Granny Smith)
Mix of green salads
Cream of balsamic vinegar
For the dressing
Extra virgin olive oil