Salad with Goat Cheese Purses

A simple salad topped with warm goat cheese wrapped in phyllo is an easy and yet elegant first course or accompaniment to a light lunch. We served this salad as the first course at Thanksgiving. The light and slightly sweet salad is the perfect complement to the strong goat cheese.

I did make a couple changes to the recipe, including reducing the amount of phyllo used, and the technique for wrapping the goat cheese. The original recipe called for 4 sheets of phyllo dough, sliced in half width-wise, in order to make two phyllo pockets. This seemed to be far too much phyllo to neatly wrap the goat cheese. Two sheets, sliced lengthwise once and then width-wise twice (to wrap 6 pieces of goat cheese) was much more manageable.

Salad with Goat Cheese Purses

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics,

Goat Cheese Wrapped in Phyllo

Serves 6

Ingredients for the Goat Cheese Wrapped in Phyllo

  • 4 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted
  • 1/4-1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-3 Tbs. plain dry bread crumbs
  • 3-6 oz. fresh goat cheese cut into 1/2-1 oz. discs

Ingredients for the Salad and Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tbs. champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. olive oil

Ingredients for the Salad

  • Salad greens, such as an arugula and mesclan mix

Make the Goat Cheese Purses: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Lay a piece of wax paper or parchment paper on the counter. Unroll the phyllo dough and set on top of paper. Cover with a slightly damp towel to keep the phyllo fresh (careful – if the towel is too wet, the phyllo will be sticky).

Remove once piece of phyllo dough and set on work space, replacing the paper towel over the rest of the dough. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs (I used about 1 tsp.). Repeat.

Cut sheets in half lengthwise. Then cut each piece in thirds, width-wise.

Put a disc of goat cheese in the center of each piece. Pull corners of phyllo together, then bring up the sides. Twist slightly and holding the center together slightly so that it sticks together. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until finished.

Using remaining butter, lightly brush each of the purses, particularly the top and where the phyllo comes together.

Bake for 20 minutes, until phyllo is browned.Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Make the Vinaigrette: Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients except olive oil together. Add olive oil slowly while still whisking.

Assemble the Salad: In a salad bowl, toss the salad greens with vinaigrette. Place onto places and top with a goat cheese purse.

Grilled Peach & Mozzarella Salad

Last week was pretty awful for me – everything that could go wrong did. Come Saturday night, all I wanted to do was sit back and relax while surrounded by good friends. I got exactly what I wanted – a night filled with wine, light and summery food (this Grilled Peach & Mozzarella Salad, Greek Panzanella, Herb-Grilled Chicken and Shrimp, and frozen turtle pie), and wonderful friends. Thanks to everyone that came over for dinner this past weekend – you were the perfect remedy for a terrible week!

Now, onto this Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad. Tossed lightly with olive oil, the sweet grilled peaches and the sweet balsamic glaze that gets drizzled on top are a wonderful contrast to the spicy bite of the arugula and the smooth mozzarella. (Note: I let everyone drizzle the syrup on their own salad, so glaze is not in photo above). This was a nice change from the usual salad that I throw together, and can’t wait for my next bag of peaches to make it again!

Grilled Peach & Mozzarella Salad

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 106 (p. 19)

Serves 6 as a side


  • 3/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2+ firm-ripe peaches (12 oz. total), halved and pitted
  • 4-1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 c. lightly packed baby arugula, spring green mix, spinach, or lettuce of choice
  • 1 ball buffalo mozzarella, cut into 3/4-inch chunks (about 1 cup)

Grill the Peaches: Heat the grill on medium heat, or, if you don’t own a grill, a grill pan on the stove. Rub halved peaches with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place peaches on grill cut-side down until grill marks appear on slices, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Slice into 1-inch chunks and set aside.

Make the Balsamic Glaze: In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar and thyme to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vinegar is thick and syrupy, 6-9 minutes. You’ll have about 1/4 cup of glaze. Remove from heat, discard the thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the Salad: Just prior to serving, toss the greens with 2 tsp. of olive oil, the mozzarella and the peaches. Drizzle with balsamic glaze, or allow your guests to do glaze their own. Serve extra peaches and mozzarella in bowls on the side.