This lovely recipe comes from an interesting and wonderfully creative cookbook, The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook. I found it on the clearance rack at our newly opened Barnes & Noble. I was very excited to find it and embrace every opportunity to revisit our family trip to Ireland. Ireland is a beautiful country and the pubs are just fantastic. If you ever get the chance to go - start packing!
The original recipe calls for Cashel Blue cheese which is made near the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland. While this blue cheese may not be readily available in all grocery stores, a traditional farmhouse hard blue cheese such as Maytag Blue is a terrific substitution. Blue cheese + beets = wonderful!
Pick up 10-12 small beets for this recipe. I found these organic beets at a very reasonable price. Clean the beets leaving the root intact. Rub the beets lightly with olive oil and roast in a foil packet until tender.
While the beets are roasting combine the dressing ingredients in a small container and whisk until blended. Set aside.
Bake 6 strips of bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
Arrange the spinach on a serving platter or individual plates. Whisk the dressing again and spoon a little over the leaves. Arrange the beets on top and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Top with the blue cheese, chopped bacon and toasted hazelnuts. Finish with a little chopped chives and serve!
|Clover near the cliffs on Slae Head Drive near Dingle Ireland|
Bacon, Beet & Spinach Salad with Blue Cheese
(adapted from a recipe in The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook)10-12 small beets, no more than 2 inches in diameter, roasted
6 strips of applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crisp, cut in bite size pieces
4 cups baby spinach
6 ounces Cashel Blue cheese or Maytag Blue, broken into small chunks
1/3 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Scrub the beets under cool running water. Remove the greens for another use but leave the root intact. Rub the beets with olive oil and wrap in a sealed foil packet. Place the pouch on a baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes or until the beets are tender. Allow the beets to cool at least 10 minutes, then gently remove the peel. Slice into fourths, set aside.
Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. While the beets are cooling bake 6 slices of bacon, turning once until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and blot to remove excess fat. Slice into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small pitcher. Set aside.
Arrange spinach leaves on a serving platter or 4 individual salad plates. Whisk the dressing again and spoon a little over the spinach leaves. Arrange the beets on top and pour the remaining dressing over them. Sprinkle each plate with blue cheese, bacon and nuts. Finish with chopped chives. Serve!
Some salads are good and others are memorable. This one will become an instant favorite for you as it did for me. I can't wait to make it again! The tangy blue cheese is a crazy good compliment to the sweet beets. Add a little smokey, salty bacon, oh my!
I hope you have a lovely pre-spring weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by!