Mesclun—a combination of slightly bitter baby greens and other greens like mizuna, arugula, and oak leaf—became all the rage in restaurants during the 1990s, eventually making its way onto supermarket produce shelves across the United States. This recipe incorporates other popular ingredients—goat cheese, pecans, dried cranberries—all dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.
- 2 heaping cups (1"-cube) sourdough bread
- 3⁄4 cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
- 12 lightly packed cups mesclun greens
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1⁄2 cup pecan halves, toasted
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 4 oz. goat cheese, chilled
Heat oven to 350°. Toss bread cubes with 1 tbsp. of the oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown, 12–14 minutes. Let cool.
Roughly chop garlic; sprinkle with a little salt. Using the side of a knife, scrape garlic into a paste; transfer to a bowl. Add vinegar and mustard; whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in remaining oil while whisking constantly to form a smooth vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine croutons, mesclun, cranberries, pecans, and thyme in a bowl. Add some of the dressing; toss well to combine. (Reserve remaining dressing for another use.) Crumble goat cheese over salad and divide between plates.