Let’s face it: salad’s can be brimming-with-flavor; the perfect vessels for creative ingredient combinations… or they can be, well, just salads. I consider it a personal challenge to make mine the former, and I truly believe that an interesting salad can be a show-stopping first-course on the holiday table. For the “Snowed-In Dinner Party” we threw with West Elm earlier this month, I created a wintry mix of sweet, creamy and crisp ingredients that provided the perfect balance of rich and refreshing. Roasted golden beets echoed the gilded tones on the table, and grapes added a pop of unexpected sweetness. It goes without saying that holiday dishes should taste delicious, but this year, why not consider their aesthetic contribution to the table when planning your menu? The burst of bright green leaves studded with jewel-toned bits made quite the tabletop accessory, don’t you think? Keep reading for the recipe (and more luscious images by Wynn Myers)…
- 6 golden beets, scrubbed and trimmed
- 8 cups mixed baby greens
- 1 cup seedless red or black grapes, halved
- 4 ounces creamy brie cheese
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
for the vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place beets on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Top with another sheet of foil, then crimp edges to seal. Set the foil packet on a baking sheet, and roast for 1 1/2 hours, until a knife inserted into beets slides in easily. Remove from oven, and when cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub the skin off the beets. Slice into wedges, then place in a large bowl and refrigerate until cooled completely.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and dijon, then add the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the baby greens and grapes to the bowl. Roughly chop the brie into 1/2″ chunks and add to the bowl. Drizzle lightly with the dressing, then toss everything together to combine. Add more dressing if needed, then top with the pistachios and serve. (dressing will keep up to a week in the fridge.)