Summer Greens and Herbs with Roasted Beets and Hazelnuts
- SERVINGS: 4
- 3/4 pound medium red or golden beets (about 3), scrubbed
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup hazelnuts (about 4 ounces), lightly toasted
- 1 tablespoon simple syrup (see Note)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Twelve 1/4-inch-thick baguette slices
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 pound blue cheese, such as Roquefort, at room temperature
- 8 loosely packed cups mesclun (about 6 ounces)
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons tarragon leaves
- 3 tablespoons chervil leaves
- 3 tablespoons snipped chives
- Preheat the oven to 500°. In a small baking dish, toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and the water. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, or until tender. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut them into 1/4-inch wedges. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.
- In a small bowl, toss the hazelnuts with the simple syrup and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, or until the syrup-covered nuts are shiny and dry. Let cool. Leave the oven on.
- Brush both sides of the baguette slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Let cool, then spread with the blue cheese.
- In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 6 tablespoons of olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mesclun, herbs, beets and hazelnuts; toss to coat. Transfer the salad to plates and serve with the Roquefort toasts.
A soft, fruity Riesling with low alcohol will contrast with the pungent blue cheese toasts and highlight the candied nuts here. Look for the 1999 Navarro White Riesling Mendocino.