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|Clover near the cliffs on Slae Head Drive near Dingle Ireland|
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!