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Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter Lettuces with Roasted Beets, Chèvre and Hazelnut Butter

I have a few friends who adamantly proclaim that they don’t make soup in the summertime or that they don’t bother with salads in the winter when there are plenty of stews and soups and root veggies. I think growing up in Hawaii caused me to miss this seasonal bandwagon.

I am currently reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle, which has been teaching me all sorts of new seasonal facts about the lives of various produce. For example, I had no idea asparagus had such a short frenzied season where the young shoots spring up sometimes six inches in just one day and that the stalks start losing flavor, vitamins and nutrients the second you whack off the little young shoots?! Who knew?!

I am really fortunate to live amidst the produce bounty of the bay area and have daily access to one of the world’s best farmers markets. I stopped in on a cold and windy Thursday and found a bounty of various winter greens from the chicory family. I walked over to the girl chanting “We've got beautiful bitter greens—there are no sweet lettuces in winter!” I purchased a mix of gorgeous seasonal greens, some golden beets and fingerling potatoes and a nice scoop of fresh chèvre from Cowgirl Creamery. I was in business.

I made a quick salad for dinner by tossing the greens in the best olive oil I own and a splash of muscat vinegar and then I topped the greens with the roasted beets and fingerling potatoes and flung about some of the chèvre. And a nice hunk of french bread. But the best compliment to the salad was a generous smattering of hazelnut butter along the rim of the plate so I could press my fork into it for each bite.

I first learned of the magical union between beets and hazelnuts from a Spruce salad consisting of paper-thin shaved beets, tangerine segments, chèvre and toasted hazelnuts.

A glass of nice crisp white wine and I'm all set.


Lindsay said...

I think I'm in love.

Jason said...

*Drooling* just thinking about that.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I can't imagine a salad getting any better than this.