Winter Pear and Beet Salad


I’ve gotten into the habit of roasting a few beets in the oven once or twice a week, so that I always have some on hand for salads and roasted veggie plates. If your beets are precooked, then this is a carefree, rustic salad that doesn’t even ask you to whisk together the oil and vinegar—just drizzle and go. But be sure to season it well with cracked black pepper; it’s what makes the salad really pop.

1 medium golden beet
1 medium beet
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 Bosc pear, halved, cored and cut lengthwise into thick matchsticks
2 to 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar*
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the beets, wrap them tightly in foil and roast until fork-tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and slice into thick matchsticks.

2. Meanwhile, in a dry sauté pan over low heat, toast the pecans until they are fragrant and just starting to deepen in color. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Arrange the lettuce leaves in a serving bowl (or in 4 individual bowls). Top with the beets, the pear, and the toasted pecans. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil; season lightly with salt and generously with pepper.

*Alessi makes a lovely pear-infused vinegar that is perfect for this recipe—and for any most any salad that includes fruit or nuts.

Makes 4 servings. Preparation time: 1 hour. Assembly time: 5 minutes