1/2 cup Roquefort cheese (about 3 ounces), softened
2 teaspoons heavy cream
12 large dates, preferably Medjool, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 Belgian endives, cored and cut into thin lengthwise strips
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil
3 tablespoons minced chives
1 large bunch watercress, large stems discarded
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set the beets in a baking dish and add about 1/2 cup of water to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour, or until the beets are tender when pierced. If the water evaporates, add more to the dish. Let cool slightly, then peel the beets and cut each into 8 wedges. Return the beets to the baking dish. Leave the oven on.
In a mini processor, finely grind the pistachios. Spread out on a plate. In a bowl, blend the Roquefort with the cream. Spoon a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese into each date half. Roll the dates in the pistachios, pressing to coat.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of the lemon juice and cook over moderate heat until the sugar starts to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Add the endives, stir to coat and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to moderately high and cook until any liquid in the pan has evaporated and the endives are lightly caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine the sherry vinegar with the canola oil, walnut oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Rewarm the beets in the oven for about 4 minutes, or until heated through. Add 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper. Rewarm the endives in the skillet until heated through.
Toss the watercress with the remaining 2 tablespoons of dressing. Arrange 8 beet wedges on each salad plate. Spoon the caramelized endives onto the plates and top each serving with 3 stuffed dates. Garnish with some of the watercress and serve.
The beets can be prepared 1 day in advance.
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