Roasted Beet & Blue Cheese Salad

I love to make this salad during the fall, when beets appear at farmers markets.  Roasting the beets really brings out their sweetness, a perfect for for the rich blue cheese.  Lately, I have used domestic blue cheeses, including:  Jasper Hill (Bayley Hazen), Old Chatham (Shaker Blue & Ewe’s Blue), Great Hill, Lively Run (Cayuga Blue), and Maytag.

Ingredients:

  • 2             Beets (peeled, medium, sliced or 4-6 small beets, halved – should yield 2 cups of sliced beets)
  • 2/3 C    Walnuts (pecans, sliced almonds and pine nuts work)
  • 2 C         Romaine Lettuce
  • 2 C         Arugula
  • 1 TB       Lucini Pinot Noir Vinegar
  • 1 tsp      Mustard (dijon is preferable, but you can substitute whole grain)
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper (freshly ground)
  • 3 TB      Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1             Belgian endive
  • 2             Pears
  • 1/2 C    Blue Cheese (crumbled small)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Lay the beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with the oil, toss the thyme on top, and season with salt and pepper.  Fold up the foil tightly to make a sealed pouch and put it on a sheet pan.  Bake until the beets are tender when pierced, about 45 minutes.  Spread the nuts on a sheet pan in a single layer.  Bake, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 6-8 minutes.  Let the nuts cool, and then coarsely chop.

Trim the stems of the arugula, then wash and dry the leaves very well.  Whisk the vinegar and mustard together in a large salad bowl.  Season with the salt and pepper.  Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a well emulsified dressing.

Halve the endive lengthwise, cut out core, then thinly slice crosswise and add all the lettuces to the bowl.  Quarter and core the unpeeled pears and thinly slice; add to the salad.  Scatter the beets, cheese and nuts over the salad, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Toss the salad gently to evenly dress all the greens.

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