Winter Salad with a Goat's Cheese Mousse

This light, fresh salad from Rachel Khoo's My Little Paris Kitchen cookbook, is bursting with typically French flavours. A perfect marriage of goat's cheese, lardons and roasted vegetables, it works equally well as a sophisticated dinner party starter or light lunch dish.

Introduction

The Paris des Chefs conference is a draw for international culinary talent and is always inspirational. At the 2011 conference I met Estonian chef Peeter Pihel (from Neh in Tallinn and Pädaste Manor on Muhu Island) and tasted one of his dishes – roasted root vegetables with a goat’s cheese mousse. It inspired me to try something similar with produce from my local Parisian market.

This recipe can be adapted to any vegetables that are in season, and in summer you can use peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes to make a crunchy raw version.

Serves 4 as a starter, or 2 as a main course
Easy
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min
Total time: 1 h 15 min

Ingredients

4 carrots, roughly chopped
2 small dessert apples, cored and quartered
2 parsnips, roughly chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt
100g lardons or smoked bacon (optional)
1 cooked beetroot, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 handfuls of salad leaves
For the mousse:
200g Selles-sur-Cher cheese*
8 tbsp milk
250ml whipping cream
For the vinaigrette:
4 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
Salt

Essential kit

You will need a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Toss the carrots, apples and parsnips into a large roasting tin. Drizzle with the
sunflower oil and season with salt. Roast for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and golden.

Meanwhile, make the mousse. Beat the cheese with the milk until soft and lump-free. Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Add one-quarter of the whipped cream to the cheese and mix together, then fold in the rest of the cream. Transfer the mousse to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and leave in the fridge until needed (it will keep for a couple of days).

Make the vinaigrette by mixing together the oil and vinegar with salt to taste.

Just as the vegetables finish cooking, toss the lardons (if using) into a hot pan and cook until crisp.

To serve, pipe little blobs of mousse randomly all over a serving plate. Arrange the roasted vegetables and apples, beetroot and salad leaves on the plate, and sprinkle the lardons (if used) on top. Finally, drizzle with the vinaigrette.

* Selles-sur-Cher cheese works particularly well. It is a goat’s cheese coated in edible ash that lends a subtle smokiness. But any other soft goat’s cheese will also work.

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