Sometimes the simplest of dishes can be greatly enhanced by the addition of just a single ingredient. Pears and beets are some of our favorite salad ingredients, as they add just the right amount of contrast and flavor punch, and the nutritional benefits can’t be beat.
In this recipe, we roasted the beets with lavender and rosemary before chilling and slicing them up. Fresh arugula from the garden was added to baby spinach, along with red onions, gorgonzola, and toasted walnuts, just before they were tossed in a very light dressing of F.lli Gorrieri Fig Balsamic Vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper.
A high quality balsamic can make all the difference in preparing savory cocktails and food dishes. Like a fine port, This Balsamico from Modena is made from family-grown grapes that are reduced and aged for years in old wooden casks. With the addition of Italian figs, the mixture macerates, concentrates, and matures, creating a rich, thick, fruit-forward, and ever-so-slightly tangy syrup. For maximum flavor punch, you can also try drizzling it over roasted meats just out of the oven (or between sous vide and final roasting), with aged cheese like parmesano reggiano, or over vanilla bean ice cream, or fresh strawberries.
Yes, the calories are a tad higher than typical vinegars, but you can use less oil and fats, and the amount of balsamico is small in contrast to a typical, lesser quality vinegar.
Gorgonzola, Pear & Beet Salad with Fig Balsamic
From the Crave Local Test Kitchen
- 2 cups of baby spinach
- 2 cups of arugula
- 1 medium sized beet, roasted and chilled
- 1 Harry & David Riviera Pear, sliced into bite-sized chunks
- 1/2 a small red onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup fresh gorgonzola cheese
- 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
- 2-3 tbs Fig Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Affiorato extra-virgin Olive Oil
- sea salt to taste
- 4 turns of black pepper (freshly ground)
Wash and dry the spinach and arugula, and toss together in a large bowl. Add in the red onion slices, gorgonzola and the beets (be sure they are free of roasting oil or moisture to reduce color transfer), toss lightly, and then add the walnuts and pears, and toss again.
Whisk the vinegar, Affiorato olive oil, sea salt (just a pinch!), and black pepper in a separate bowl, and drizzle over the salad. Toss gently just to coat, and serve immediately.
Kitchen Tip: You can also substitute fresh fig slices and manchego cheese for the gorgonzola and pears.