This is a composed salad. It looks like a work of art, Dutch Old Masters, when you present it; but then when the guests dive in, it morphs into a Jackson Pollock: a mess of colors and shapes.
A composed salad can include anything. I choose seasonal ingredients, keeping in mind what I know my guests favor and of course what I feel like eating.
For this salad, there were gorgeous beets in the market (Vera’s favorite) and perfect asparagus (also Vera’s favorite). For me, a bite of creamy burrata is always welcome. I didn’t know what Tzveta would prefer but I was sure she would enjoy the combination of flavors.
If you are used to serving tossed green salads, try this instead. Your guests will be amazed at your heretofore hidden artistic abilities, and everyone enjoys picking their favorites from a platter of delectable goodness.
ROASTED VEGETABLE SALAD WITH HAZELNUT VINAIGRETTE
EVENT: Out-of-Town Company
SERVES: 4 People Generously
For the salad:
2 lbs mixed beets, red and golden, scrubbed
2 bunches asparagus, roasted
Arugula or baby spinach, baby lettuce (a generous handful per person)
6 fresh figs, cut into quarters
1 piece fresh burrata cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra chopped hazelnuts as garnish (optional)
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinaigrette
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2/3 cups chopped hazelnuts
1 teaspoon minced shallots
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Divide the beets between 2 large sheets of foil. Separate the colors.
3. Drizzle each sheet with 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Wrap foil around beets completely sealing. Place both packets on a baking sheet, just in case of leaks. Roast in middle rack of oven, 40-50 minutes. Beets should be tender but not falling apart.
5. Let cool slightly. Run under cold water and rub the skins from beets. The skins should come off easily.
6. If not using right away, allow to cool through. Store, separating colors, in air tight container in refrigerator.
7. When ready to use, cut into wedges.
8. Prepare dressing by whisking shallots, olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
9. Taste. Correct seasonings.
10. Add chopped hazelnuts.
11. Place all the greens on a large platter. Arrange asparagus, beets and figs around platter. Cut burrata cheese and place in center of platter.
12. Dress the asparagus and beets with dressing, which will drizzle down to the greens.
13. Add extra chopped hazelnuts if desired.