Beets and pear salad makes an impression
Beet and Pear Salad with Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette
You can use apples, grapefruit or orange segments, or pomegranate arils in place of the pears. The vinaigrette is delicious and can be used on other salads. 1 lb (454 g) medium golden beets, without greens, scrubbed 1 lb (454 g) medium purple beets, without greens, scrubbed 2 tbsp (30 mL) apple cider vinegar 2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh orange juice 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 1/2 tbsp (7.5 mL) mild honey 1/2 cup (125 mL) extra-virgin olive oil 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 8 cups (2 L) moderately packed mixed greens 1 ripe pear, halved, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch (6 mm) wedges 2 oz (58 g) soft, unripened goat’s cheese or goat feta 1/4 cup (60 mL) coarsely chopped shelled pistachios
Position rack in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
Place the beets in a small baking dish. Add 1/4 cup (60 mL) water and cover tightly with foil. Roast the beets until they are tender when pierced with a small sharp knife, about 1 to 1¼ hours. You can bake the beets while you are baking something else in the oven.
Combine the vinegar and orange juice in a very small, heavy pot. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod into the pan and drop in the pod. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat, and continue simmering for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and let cool completely.
Once cool, remove the vanilla bean. Whisk in the honey, then slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking until combined. Whisk in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Peel the beets when they are cool enough to handle, but still warm. Cut into 1/2-inch (1.25-cm)-thick wedges. Toss them with enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat. The beets may be covered at this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat it and arrange on a serving platter or individual plates. Top with beets, pears, cheese and nuts. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.