Spring Recipe: Beet Salad with Whipped Valde贸n Cheese

Chef Danny Elmaleh of Mercato di Vetro shares his recipe

Spring has sprung! It鈥檚 official鈥擬arch 20 is the first day of the season. Here in L.A., a couple of early heat waves mean that we鈥檝e had spring fever for a few weeks already. Warmer weather and later sunsets also help us forgo those roasts for slimmer salads come dinnertime. Chef Danny Elmaleh of West Hollywood鈥檚聽Mercado di Vetro聽has included a riff on the classic beet salad on the restsaurant鈥檚 new spring menu, which was introduced this week. Instead of creamy goat cheese, Elmaleh whips Spanish Valde贸n blue cheese to a frothy foam, which helps distribute the pungent flavor to each and every hazelnut, kumquat slice, and crisp sprig of fris茅e.

(Feeds two people)

4 beets
2 tablespoon hazelnuts
8 kumquats, thinly sliced
陆 ounce Valderon blue cheese
8 sprigs fris茅e
12 leaves watercress
Sherry vinegar (chef recommends Pedro Ximenez)
Sherry vinaigrette to taste (2 parts Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar
to 1 part oil)

1. Roast beets in oven at 375 degrees, wrapped in silver foil, until tender. Peel and slice into wedges.
2. In a pan, bring 2 parts hazelnut and 1 part sugar to 350 degrees until caramelized. Let cool.
3. Macerate thinly sliced kumquat with Pedro Ximenez in 2:1 ratio.
4. Whip 2 parts blue cheese to 1 part water until foamy.
5. Mix fris茅e and watercress with sherry vinaigrette.
6. Plate a bowl with hazelnuts first, then fris茅e and watercress, followed by more hazelnuts, macerated kumquats, blue-cheese foam, and then beets. Top with crumbled blue cheese.