Warm Goats Cheese Salad or Salade de Chevre Chaud, as it's called in French, has to be one of my favorite dishes which is just as well because in France, where I live, it has a place on most menus.
Essentially a Salad de Chevre Chaud literally is warm goats cheese served on a bed of salad.
The goats cheese is almost always placed on a small round of bread (croute) and it's usually eaten as a starter or as a lunchtime main course.
The goats cheese part of a Goats cheese salad comes in many forms and many sizes, the classic being the use of Crottin de Chavignol.
Crottin is a small puck sized goat cheese traditionally from the Loire region in France.
It has a natural rind that varies in color from pale ivory (when young) to almost black (when aged) and is perfect for grilling.
Flavors range from soft and nutty to hard and fruity depending on it's age. Most crottins are used when young however.
Other goats cheese used in Chevre Chaud often depends on where you are in France.
As goats cheese is widely made across France it's more likely to be the local Goats that you'll be having in varying forms from individual cheeses (like a Crottin) to slices cut from a "log".
If you're not in France and can't get hold of Crottin from a specialized cheese shop it's ok to use any goats cheese as long as it's not too soft.
The goats cheese logs that you can find in some higher end stores are fine, just cut them into rounds.
Some deli-counters will sell you a chunk of goats and if it's a large round you can either just have 1 large slice or cut it in half.
Remember - not all goat cheese cooks the same.
Crottins will take between 3 and 4 minutes maybe more if they are hard whereas sliced goat cheese with a soft centre will only take a minute until is starts to boil up.
Bread wise, here in France it's baguette that is used but any bread will work.
Specialty breads are a lovely addition, you can use a walnut bread, a cumin bread or a pumpernickel if you're looking for more flavor.
If you prefer your bread to be crispier you can toast it before putting the cheese on just be careful not to burn the bits showing when grilling the cheese.
Likewise, I have seen recipes where the crottin and breads are toasted separately then assembled for service.
This is ok but be careful, a lot of goats cheeses are tricky to move when warm so I prefer to skip that step and have them already assembled.
As far as the honey goes, where I live mountain honey is drizzled over the top which is delish but if you have a fig chutney or a chilli jelly you can always spread the bread with it and then top with the cheese for a new dimension.
A beautiful accompaniment for goats cheese is beetroot for those who like it and slices of apple or strawberries also work when in season.