Today’s Lunch: Seared Goat Cheese with Arugula and Red Grapefruit

Some people wonder if chefs eat fancy food all the time. When they ask me, I’m always tempted to throw my head back and laugh, then affect my thickest French accent and say, “But of course! Why do you think we became chefs in the first place?”

It’s easy to grab a sandwich or some chummus for lunch, or graze on leftovers. Likewise throwing something frozen into the microwave is another time-saver. But when you have ingredients in hand, it’s always fun to take a few minutes out of your day to play with your food.

After all, why do you think we became chefs in the first place?

Arugula is the leaf base for this salad. It’s very peppery, but the creaminess of the cheese cuts the sharpness.

I paired the arugula with chunks of red grapefruit. I carefully cut the wedges of grapefruit free from the bitter membrane, and I made sure to pick out the pips as well.

For a creamy texture I opted for goat cheese, which gives a pleasant creaminess with only a hint of the sharp tang common to goat cheese. Searing the cheese is tricky; you have to make sure the crust doesn’t slide off the cheese medallion, because it gets creamy when heated.

The dressing was a simple reduction of strawberry preserves and balsamic vinegar. Cracked black pepper might have worked, but I didn’t want it to compete with the arugula.

This salad is based on a salad made famous by Alice Waters in Chez Panisse. It’s a simple salade composée that balances sweeet, sour, bitter, creamy and peppery together very elegantly, and makes you kind of sad when it’s finished.

So make another!

  • Prep Time : 10 min
  • Cook Time : 5 min
  • Ready Time : 15 min


1 portion


  • 20-30 sprigs arugula
  • 1/2 red grapefruit
  • 100 grams goat cheese sliced into medallions
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Arrange arugula and grapefruit on a plate.
  2. Dust the flat surfaces of the cheese lightly with flour.
  3. In a hot pan, sear the cheese on either side for 90 seconds.
  4. Arrange cheese on the plate.
  5. Add the strawberry, vinegar and water into the pan. Reduce until thick and syrupy.
  6. Drizzle gastrique over the salad.



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