This Mexican Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans has been my go-to salad this summer as it is so delicious and has always done down well with guests. It definitely has that salty/sweet thing working for it that I am weak for, as well as tang, spice and earthiness. The recipe is by Thomasina Miers who definitely knows her stuff when it comes to Mexican flavours. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients! I didn’t so I did a bit of swapping. If a recipe calls for a whole spice to be ground in a pestle and mortar and you only have the pre-ground version, just use the same volume of it. I wouldn’t suggest trying to toast it in the frying pan but it is still fine. I know that basil and mint have very different flavours that are not interchangeable but when one is used to bring sweetness to a recipe, I think you could get away with swapping them. I swapped the basil in this recipe for mint and it was great! Similarly, one time I was making this for a crowd and one person detested goat cheese so I swapped it for feta and it worked really well.
I think the nuts were the star of the show here as I feel I did really well in only eating some as they were cooling. They can be made a few days ahead if stored in an air-tight container. They’d also be really good on their own or with drinks
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 cloves
- half a tsp of coriander seeds
- 8 allspice berries
- half a tsp sweet pimenton
- 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
- sea salt flakes
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 90 ml olive oil
- 100 g pecan nuts
- 1 head of romain lettuce
- seeds from 1 pomegranate
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 small bunch of basil leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 100 g goats cheese
- Add the whole spices to a dry frying pan and place over a high heat for a few minutes until they are aromatic and toasted.
- Then add them to a pestle and mortar and bash them into a fine powder. Then add the pimenton, cayenne pepper, a pinch of sea salt, sugar and 20ml of olive oil and mix into a paste.
- Add the pine nuts and stir to coat.
- Lay them out on a parchment-lined baking tray and transfer to a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees celsius for 10 minutes. Then take them out and let them cool.
- Chop, wash and dry the lettuce and add it to a salad bowl along with the fresh herbs.
- Deseed the pomegranate reserving any juices that have come from it.
- Make the dressing my mixing the remaining 70 ml of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, a pinch of sea salt flakes, any juice that has come from deseeding the pomegranate,
- Add the pomegranate seeds and the not cooled nuts to the lettuce, drizzle over most of the dressing and toss well.
- Crumble over the goat cheese, drizzle over the remaining dressing and serve.