Spring Recipe: Beet Salad with Whipped Valde贸n Cheese

Chef Danny Elmaleh of Mercato di Vetro shares his recipe
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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)

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:
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.