The classic California salad. A signature dish at Berkeley's Chez Panisse, it's been on the restaurant's cafe menu for more than 25 years. Prep and Cook Time: about 30 minutes, plus marinating time (optional). Notes: You can skip marinating the cheese, but it won't be nearly as flavorful. Panko (crunchy Japanese bread crumbs) are available at most big supermarkets.
2 1/2 tablespoons walnut or extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound baby lettuces or salad mix, washed and dried
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
How to Make It
Shape the goat cheese into eight 1-in.-thick disks and put in a container just big enough to hold them in one layer. Sprinkle cheese with herbs and pour on olive oil. Cover and chill at least 12 hours and up to a week (see Notes). One hour before baking, pop them in the freezer to firm up.
Preheat oven to 400°. Remove cheese from marinade and roll all sides in panko, pressing gently so the crumbs adhere. Arrange on a large baking sheet and bake until golden, about 15 minutes, turning over halfway through. Add baguette slices for last 5 minutes of baking.
Whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, and walnut oil. Put lettuces in a large bowl, drizzle with just enough dressing to coat, and toss gently and thoroughly.
Divide lettuces among 4 plates, sprinkle with walnuts, and to each plate add 2 goat-cheese disks and a baguette slice. Serve immediately.