Life in a Northern Town

Roasted Beet & Caramelized Pear Salad

I need a few things to make my life run smoothly: ample toilet paper reserves, Maldon sea salt, good butter, clean dogs and a really good salad dressing in the fridge. Salad dressing is always an after thought for me. I will spend hours planning and preparing the meal but when it comes time to dress the salad, I've got nothing. While a good red wine vinegar and Dijon dressing is quick and easy, it's been five years and I needed a change.

I have two 'signature' perfumes— Tom Ford's White Patchouli for summer and Black Orchid for winter. Doesn't it make sense to have two 'signature' seasonal salad dressings?? Summer with her fresh vegetables and bright flavors is a whole different kind of critter than the caramelized fruit and roasted vegetable salads of old man winter. I pulled a bunch of cookbooks off the shelf and started my search for a Dougherty house dressing. I hit pay dirt with Cooking with Shelburne Farm— a beautiful cookbook from an Inn and working farm in Vermont. The maple ginger vinaigrette is perfect for all my winter salads and is always waiting in the refrigerator to dress any salad I can dream up.

Roasted Beet and Caramelized Pear Salad Maple-Ginger Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (From Cooking with Shelburne Farms)

Salad 2 heads of lettuce, washed and torn into bite size pieces 4 sliced pears, caramelized in 4 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp brown sugar 6 roasted beets, sliced 1/2 cup gorgonzola, crumbled

Salad Dressing 1 medium garlic clove 1 medium shallot 1 inch ginger root, peeled and coarsely chopped 2 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp pure maple syrup 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 cup canola oil kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare Salad Dressing In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, shallot, ginger, mustard, soy sauce, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar until well blended. With the motor running on low, pour the olive and canola oils gradually and blend until emulsified. Can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Prepare Salad Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the greens from the top of the beets, wash, drizzle with olive oil and tightly cover your pan with foil. Roast until soft— about 30 minutes for small beets and up to an hour for large ones. Peel the skin off, slice and set aside.

Melt 4 tbsp of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add sugar, stir until sugar is melted. Add sliced pears and saute for  5 - 7 minutes, flipping over one or twice to achieve uniform caramelization.

Add sliced beets, pears, gorgonzola to the bowl with the lettuce, add dressing, taste for salt and pepper and serve.