Here's a salad that combines the best of winter's produce and is elegant enough to start any dinner menu.
I like the sweet beet flavor contrasting with the mildly bitter Belgian endive and the creamy, slightly pungent goat cheese. The vinaigrette includes balsamic vinegar and lemon juice that adds a more complex flavor. I am a fan of grainy Dijon-style mustard (also called whole-grain mustard) in salad dressings because it adds texture, thickness and a savory flavor.
Choose crisp, firmly packed heads that are white or pale yellow. Red endive should be bright colored with no wrinkled leaves. If the endive is very green it might be more bitter than the lighter colored heads.
Store endive wrapped in paper towels in a lock-top plastic bag; refrigerate in the vegetable drawer.
Endive salad with roasted beets and goat cheese
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
Note: May be made through step 2, covered and refrigerated up to 6 hours ahead.
2 whole beets, tops trimmed to 1 inch
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons each: lemon juice, balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 heads Belgian endive, sliced thinly lengthwise
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place beets in a small roasting pan; add 1/4-inch water. Cover with foil; roast beets until fork-tender, 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove skins with a small knife. (Use rubber gloves so your hands don't turn red; also put the beets on foil to protect your countertop.) Cut into julienne.
For the vinaigrette, combine the shallot, mustard, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking until blended. Add the salt and pepper to taste; taste for seasoning.
Toss the endive with half of the dressing in a large bowl. Divide among plates; decorate with the beets and goat cheese. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
Per serving: 243 calories, 81% of calories from fat, 22 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 11 mg cholesterol, 8 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 227 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.