Beets are such glorious wonders, aren’t they? I love the innumerable variation in colours and the amazing sweetness that summer beets have: for my tastes, they can give even the ripest of fruits a run for their money. I think that’s why I love this salad so much – the combination of plump summer cherries and sweet ruby red beets creates not only an amazing flavour combination, but it adds an explosion of colour so welcome to our tables. (warning: this recipe WILL stain everything around you red including your hands, so kitchen gloves are a good idea).
Be sure to leave the beets and cherries to sit in the dressing for at least 20 minutes before serving as this will add a very slight pickle to both increasing the juiciness. You can choose your favourite blue cheese: the robustness of the salad stands up well with Stilton or even Roquefort, but any good solid blue will do. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese you can easily replace it with a fresh Chèvre like David Wood’s Salt Spring Island or other.
- 1 cup cherries, halved and pitted
- 1 large shallot, minced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 4 medium beets, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted
- 1/3 cup blue cheese (French, Danish or Stilton) crumbled
- sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
Toast walnuts in 375 oven for 5-7 minutes. Let cool and then chop half of the walnuts into small chunks: keep remaining halves aside for garnish.
Place cherry halves and minced shallot in a bowl with the lemon juice. Slice beets into matchsticks and add to cherries and shallots. Toss in balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, chopped walnut pieces and extra virgin olive oil. Let stand 20 minutes.
Serve the salad on a bed of arugula and top with remaining toasted walnut halves and crumbled blue cheese.