Serves: Makes 4 servings
- 1½pounds beets, tops trimmed to within
- ½ inch of crown, scrubbed
- ¼ cup water
- 2 ripe Bartlett pears, quartered, cored, and cut into thin wedges
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups packed torn pale green frisée leaves, arugula leaves, or a mixture of bitter salad greens
- ½ cup thin (1⁄8-inch) red onion wedges
- 1 (3½-ounce) log fresh goat cheese, or semi-aged Bucheron, well chilled
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the beets in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add the water, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and roast the beets for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will vary depending on their size. When cool enough to handle, use a small paring knife to remove the skins. Cut the beets into ½-inch wedges and set aside in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine the pears and lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
- Make The Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and a grinding of pepper until blended.
- Add the greens and onion to the beets. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Divide among 4 salad plates, distributing the beets evenly. Tuck the pear wedges into the salad, dividing them evenly.
- Use a thin-bladed knife to carefully cut the goat cheese into 4 equal disks each about ¾ inch thick. To make a clean cut straight through the cheese, heat the blade with the chef's torch before each cut, or rinse the blade with hot water and wipe it dry before each cut. Place the cheese disks, with a cut side down, on a flameproof surface.
- Turn on the chef's torch and, with the flame about 2 inches from a cheese disk, move it slowly back and forth for about 30 seconds, or until the surface is toasted to a golden brown. Repeat with the remaining disks. Alternatively, the goat cheese can be browned under the broiler: Position an oven rack so that the surface of the cheese will be about 3 inches from the heat source, and preheat the broiler. Place the cheese disks on a rimmed sheet pan and broil, watching carefully and turning the pan as needed to toast evenly, for 1 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is golden.
- Carefully slide a wide spatula under each cheese disk and transfer it to the center of a salad. Sprinkle the cheese and salad with the pistachios and serve while the cheese is still warm.