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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.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.

Valentine Salad

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!

Valentine Salad

Romantic Roquefort

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

Valentine SaladI’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!

 


Valentino Salad

Makes 2 portions | Preparation: 10 minutes

IngredientsValentine Salad
  • 1 pre roasted beetroot
  • arugula 
  • strawberries
  • roquefort cheese
  • sunflower seeds
  • aged balsamic vinegar or cream
  • a tad of olive oil
  • *optional pearled onions in balsamic
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Simply cut the beet in a square (modern way) and cut 3mm thick slices with the mandoline (keep the sides for later use)
  2. Add to the bottom of the plate the slices of beetroots
  3. Add the strawberries, arugula, sunflower seeds, *pearled onions and roquefort
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar
  5. Salt and pepper

 

Let the romantic dinner begin. Enjoy!

 

 

Roquefort and Arugula Pasta (1).jpg

I had some leftovers from that dipping sauce, from the hot habanero chicken wings, I’ve used my leftover into pasta, add a little arugula, chives and voilà! The version, I’ll write here, is the real recipe I usually use to make my blue cheese pasta sauce… I know, most people would use the creamy gorgonzola, not a roquefort like I do… But I’m such a strong flavoured cheese lover, and the gorgonzola, never hits my taste buds strong enough, sure the creamy texture of gorgonzola is nice compared with the dried Roquefort but I’d rather get the taste then the texture. Everyone has their own preference, mine is “Roquefort”.

Roquefort and Arugula PastaFrom all the cheeses out there… I couldn’t choose a favorite. I ‘m a BIG goat cheese lover, a sharp old gouda lover, a fresh mozzarella lover, etc… I love them all… couldn’t choose one as my favorite! Impossible mission! Although, for blue cheese it’s quite the opposite, I do have  a favorite… Roquefort. I mean, I tried many blue cheese, but this Roquefort one is simply my blue cheese love story. Ok, sorry… I won’t get too sentimental about it.

The legend of the Roquefort cheese is that a young man was eating his lunch at the entrance of a cave in south of France, when he saw a young lady of his type and decide to pursuit her, leaving his cheese and baguette behind. For a few weeks, the mold from this special cave infested the cheese. When the young man came back and saw that his cheese had changed into what we know today as Roquefort. Also, in 1925, the cheese became the first AOC product ever, from France.

So let’s get those bellies full of delicious Roquefort!


Roquefort and Arugula Pasta

Makes 4 portions

Roquefort and Arugula PastaIngredients
  • 500g pasta of your choice
  • 100g Roquefort
  • 50g Arugula leaves
  • 200ml creme fraiche (30% cream)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Cook your pasta, in salty water, the way you like them
  2. In a small sauce pan add the cream and roquefort, low heat until the roquefort is completely melted into the cream
  3. Add pepper and salt
  4. Drain the pasta
  5. Mix the pasta and the Roquefort sauce
  6. Add the chives, arugula leaves and check the seasoning (salt, pepper, love lots of the pepper in my cream sauces)

Serve with a side of tomato salad and a good wine, Enjoy!