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8 & $20: Turkey and Strawberry Salad with Baked Goat Cheese

This elegant summer meal makes an ideal companion for a berry-filled rosé
Photo by: Greg Hudson
A refreshing rosé can emphasize the strawberry flavors in both the wine and the food.

Nicole Ruiz Hudson
Posted: June 28, 2016

Eight ingredients, plus pantry staples. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

Strawberries make me so happy. I can’t help but feel excited when they start showing up at the farmers market, and I get a little carried away buying basket upon basket. Of course they’re beautiful in desserts, but I see no reason to restrict them to the end of the meal.

Their sweet-tart flavor makes a perfect accompaniment to a variety of meats and cheeses. Strawberries get to play with both in this salad with turkey and goat cheese, topped with a classic balsamic vinaigrette. Encrusting and baking the goat cheese brings a decadent element to an otherwise simple, fresh salad.

This recipe requires little time in front of the stove since lean turkey breast cutlets cook up quickly. If you simply can’t bear to turn on the oven in the summer heat for even a few minutes, bake the goat cheese rounds in a toaster oven instead.

I wanted a refreshing wine that would complement the summery feeling of this salad and speak to the strawberry flavors. I tried a rosé sparkler from New Zealand, a Provençal rosé and a Beaujolais, lightly chilled.

The Beaujolais brought a savory element to the strawberries but didn’t really enhance or integrate with the dish—though it didn’t clash outright either.

The pink bubbles from New Zealand were refreshing on their own, and when paired with the food they danced delightfully with the strawberries—accentuating that flavor in the salad and the wine.

The Provençal rosé was a little less effusive than the bubbly, but it conversed more completely with all of the components in the salad. It brought out the herbal notes of the basil and added a touch of minerality as well, giving this wine the win of the day.

Turkey and Strawberry Salad With Baked Goat Cheese


Try it with a Provençal rosé such as Bieler Père & Fils Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé Cuvée Sabine 2015 (87 points, $14) or, alternatively, a sparkling rosé.


Total time: 50 minutes
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking and assembly time: 25 minutes
Approximate food costs: $25

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 6- to 8-ounce log of goat cheese, chilled
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, plus 1/4 cup ground almonds (or 1/4 cup almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 pound turkey breast cutlets, cut into strips or chunks
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 10-12 basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil, plus more for dipping and cooking
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. (Alternatively, you can use a toaster oven, if available.)

2. In a container, place a few of the strawberry slices in the balsamic vinegar with a pinch of sugar. Mash the strawberries a bit to macerate in the liquid. Set aside.

3. Slice the goat cheese into 1 1/2- to 2-ounce rounds. (Note: Chilling the cheese in advance will help you slice through it more cleanly. However, if the cheese crumbles, gently pat together to reform the rounds.) Mix the bread crumbs, ground almonds, and a pinch of salt and pepper together in bowl. Lightly dip each goat cheese round in a small amount of olive oil, then in the crumb mixture. Place the goat cheese rounds on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until the crumbs start to turn golden. (For additional browning, place the rounds under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.) Remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes to allow the cheese to set.

4. While the goat cheese is baking, heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan on medium to medium-high. Season the turkey pieces with salt and pepper and sauté until cooked through and starting to lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Strain the macerated strawberries from the vinegar. Whisk together the vinegar with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, until emulsified. Begin with about 1/2 cup olive oil, then gradually add more, tasting as you go, until you reach a balance you like. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

6. In a large bowl, gently toss together the romaine lettuce, strawberries, turkey, basil and toasted slivered almonds. Add the dressing gradually to lightly coat the salad, and serve any remaining vinaigrette on the side. Plate the salad with a baked goat cheese round for each person. Serves 4.

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