Romaine, Beet, and Blue Cheese Salad (Ensalada de Lechuga, Remolacha y Queso Cabrales)

Makes 4 lunch or 6 first course servings

  • 2 medium beets (about 12 ounces)
  • Fine sea or kosher salt
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 2 teaspoons sherry or other vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus more for the beets
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces blue cheese (see below), crumbled (about 1 cup)

Cut off the beets’ stems, peel the beets, and cut them in half. Put the beets in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and toss in a small handful of salt. Bring the water to a boil, then adjust the heat so it is boiling gently. Cook until the beets are tender, but not mushy, 20 to 35 minutes, depending on your beets. Drain the beets and let them stand until cool enough to handle, but still a little warm.

While the beets are cooling, prepare the lettuce: separate the head into leaves and cut out any thick ribs from the leaves. Tear the leaves into rough 2-inch pieces. Wash and dry the leaves, preferably in a salad spinner.

Cut the beets into ½-inch dice. Toss the beets with the sherry vinegar and a kiss of olive oil. Place the lettuce in a bowl large enough to hold it comfortably. In a separate small bowl, whisk the white wine vinegar into the ½ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the lettuce and toss until it’s coated. Scatter the beets and cheese over the top.

Daisy’s Pantry: Cabrales, a semi-soft blue-veined cheese from the Asturias region of Spain, is my cheese of choice for this. It is a fairly mild cheese made from a mix of goat, sheep and cow milk and is worth searching out.

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