Salads are always a great showcase for me, as they are where I sneak in all my goodies, classics and latest stars. This past Rosh Hashanah, I decided my first course would be a substantial and luxurious one, allowing for a lighter main course: a fruity salad with a fruity dressing (raspberry dressing: What better?) and a sliced of our beloved French Paté de Campagne. That made for a stunning plate I am only sorry I could not take pictures of, but I trust your imagination will encourage you a good part of the way. The peppery Arugala is a worthwhile match for the bittersweet grapefruit and sweet fennel and beets. And the wonderful Raspberry Dressing brings all salad friends together.
No I did NOT pre-plate my first course in the kitchen, as this former restaurant owner has a kind of aversion to serving in her own home restaurant-style. Here’s what I did: I brought the whole platter of salad, all beautifully layered and dressed, and a tray of the sliced Paté, and a bowl of teeny cornichons. I instructed every guest to take a scoop of salad and a slice of Paté, with a spoonful of cornichons, while we poured wine, water and iced tea. Interactive and fun, takes about five minutes flat, and yes, everyone’s plate looked wonderful. Not identical? Vive La Difference!
Beets can err on the high maintenance side, as they take so long to roast (1 good 11/2 hours in a 375 degree oven). But I am delighted to report that many markets now carry vacuum-packed roasted beets, kosher, all natural and absolutely delicious. In the absence of these beets, if you don’t have the time or oven space to devote to the beets, canned beets will do in a pinch
This salad is wonderful as is, and needs no help from any accessory. It will work very well with baby kale leaves too. I only added the Paté to build it up as a substantial first course. This said, you can build it up to a main course, adding some of your favorites you might have on hand more readily than Paté: Sliced poached chicken, smoked turkey, toasted nuts. And if you would rather go dairy, even crumbled Feta cheese, blue cheese or kashkeval.
- 1 pound baby arugala
- 1 medium head fennel, cores discarded, sliced very thin
- 2 large grapefruit, try your very best to remove all peel, pits and pith, diced
- 2 avocadoes, diced
- 4 large beets, roasted (settle for canned), diced
- 6 scallions, sliced very thin
Line a salad platter with the leaves. Scatter decoratively with all remaining ingredients, layering them nicely. Pour the Raspberry Dressing over all, slowly and evenly, about 1 cup in all, saving the rest for another salad. Do not toss the salad so as not to disturb the layers