Baby Beet Leaf Salad with Pear, Walnut, Gorgonzola, Coriander and Honey
These beautiful, deep, dark, claret-red leaves were just begging to be bought at the market this afternoon- something just told me that I needed to have them!
It wasn't until later, after having over-indulged on cake in the afternoon and snacks when I got home that I was happier still that I had bought them! Because, even in the bleak Mid-Winter, there are still sometimes occasions when you need to make do with a salad!
But "making do" is grossly under-stating how wonderful a salad this was! Lavishly layered with pear, Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts, seasoned with fragrant coriander and drizzles with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and honey, this was quite an extravaganza!
The ingredients are laid-out again here for you- all but the lemon, which I forgot in my eagerness to get started!
Let me just say that this would have been plenty for two people. I needed just 1 small pear, 2 handfuls of beet leaves, 1 handful of walnuts, a little Gorgonzola, 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, a drizzle of olive oil and a tablespoon of honey.
It is all about the choice of ingredients and not about any particular measurements of such when you are preparing this salad. There is no need to add any salt at all, as the richness of the Gorgonzola takes care of that- it is more a question of balance and you will have to judge that for yourselves. The thing that makes it most special is the combination of toasted coriander seeds with the pear- as natural a pairing as cinnamon and apple- and so wonderful in combination with the Gorgonzola.
And yes indeed it IS a thing of beauty, at the same time as being something so delicious!
Start off by washing the leaves and spinning them dry. whilst they are dripping and drying away, toast the walnuts and the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan.
Set the nuts to one side to cool and grind the coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle.
Cut the pear into the finest slices you can manage- this makes them beautiful, delicate and light- and you do want that salad to look great!
Squeeze the juice of one lemon to drop the pear slices into as this will stop them oxidizing and turning brown.
Next, fetch the pear slices out and use that same lemon juice to toss the salad in- this will give the tartness that you need, rather than using a vinegar to make a dressing.
Now you have prepared everything you need and all you need to do is to lay out the leaves and then decoratively add the pear, cheese and walnuts on top.
Drizzle with olive oil and honey and sprinkle with plenty of that delicious coriander- and your ingredients will take care of making what you have just made look attractive, taste as good as it looks! The sweet and sour and strong and mild flavors all come together wonderfully... even the slight peppery flavor of the beet leaves- everything you need is right in there!
Simple, elegant... and funky! I think you're going to like it!