Valentino Salad is a perfect starter for a romantic dinner, it’s a light earthy salad with roasted beets, strawberries, roquefort, sunflower seeds and arugula topped with an aged balsamic vinegar.
If there is something I like about blogging recipes is to choose a name for my recipes. This one was a no brainer… just a quick look at it and it’s clearly a romantic looking salad and Valentine’s day is coming so Valentin0 Salad seemed appropriate. Since we are all having different eating habits and different partners… I’ve done 2 plating designs for this salad, one really light and modern with the beets being cut into squares and a minimalist presentation with just a few arugula leaves. I’ve used a balsamic cream to decorate the plate. The other version (see below) is a more everyday life salad, maybe a tad less esthetic but filled with arugula and a bigger portion with lots of aged balsamic vinegar. Also, I’ve added small pearled onions marinated in balsamic vinegar, those taste fantastic, almost like caramels. It’s a product you’ll find only in Italian delicacy shop and of course it’s optional. Both salad styles have the same ingredients, the plating is just a question of preference because in the end they both taste equally dreamy!
If you ask me “which cheese screams romance?” I’ll answer “roquefort” right away. Roquefort is in my opinion one of the sexiest cheese out there, I can not put exactly the finger on it though as to why… Maybe it’s because it’s a bold sharp flavored cheese just like passion is… or maybe it’s in its texture: creamy and soft or maybe the legend about how the cheese got discovered. A young shepherd boy eating his lunch in a cave in the South of France when suddenly he saw a young lady and just pursued her (not the creepy way hopefully…) and a few weeks later he came back and his cheese became blue from the special flora of the cave resulting into “Roquefort”.
The art of Salad
I’ve done a post about the “art of making a salad” which is my own golden rules to an exquisite salad. I do have a “thing” for salads. As I was grew up, I would always be the one who makes the salad up until today, I go back home whether it’s at my parent’s or sister’s place, I’m always the one in charge of the salad. I like my “salad maker” title and it’s probably because I love them and it shows, but I also do believe salads are underrated… By definition a salad is a mix of ingredients, and to make sense of a “mix of ingredients” it isn’t always so simple. For this particular salad every single element is complementing the next; for example; beets are so earthy they need an acidic and salty element to counterbalance it so the balsamic vinegar and the salty roquefort is perfect for it. Roquefort as a sharp tang that can overwhelm but with the sweetness of the strawberry no worries here… arugula is bringing this light spicy touch and crunch to the dish… I could go on and on… sorry I’m a weirdo about salads… But in the end it’s all about having a general harmony which is what makes a salad stands out!
Makes 2 portions | Preparation: 10 minutes
- 1 pre roasted beetroot
- roquefort cheese
- sunflower seeds
- aged balsamic vinegar or cream
- a tad of olive oil
- *optional pearled onions in balsamic
- salt and pepper
- Simply cut the beet in a square (modern way) and cut 3mm thick slices with the mandoline (keep the sides for later use)
- Add to the bottom of the plate the slices of beetroots
- Add the strawberries, arugula, sunflower seeds, *pearled onions and roquefort
- Drizzle with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Let the romantic dinner begin. Enjoy!