Baked Goat Cheese with Warm Red Cabbage
1/3 cup walnuts
3-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 small head red cabbage (about 12 ounces), cored and very thinly sliced
Scant ½ teaspoon fennel seed, crushed in a mortar or spice grinder
1-1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or more to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
Four 2-ounce portions fresh goat cheese with no rind
½ cup fine crumbs made from homemade or storebought croutons
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet until fragrant and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then chop coarsely.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until just wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute to release its fragrance. Add the cabbage, fennel seed, 1-1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with tongs to blend. Cook briskly, tossing often, until the cabbage softens and is no longer crunchy, about 5 minutes. Taste and add a little more vinegar if desired. Add the walnuts and parsley. Let cool slightly.
Preheat the broiler and position a rack 7 to 8 inches from the heating element. Roll the cheese in the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, then in the crumbs, coating all sides evenly. (You may not need all the crumbs.) Place on a baking sheet and broil until the crumbs on top darken slightly and become crisp, about 1 minute. (Watch carefully to prevent scorching.) Reduce the oven temperature to 425°F and bake until the cheese feels quivery, about 4 minutes.
Divide the warm cabbage salad among 4 plates and top with the cheese. Serve immediately.