Escarole Salad with Beet “Lardons”

This salad uses hot roasted vegetables in place of the traditional cooked bacon to wilt the greens just slightly and help them absorb the dressing.

Remove the greens from 1 bunch of beets and reserve for another use.  Scrub the beets and cut into small cubes.  Toss the beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the beets in a single layer in a cast iron skillet, or on a cookie sheet lined with foil.  Roast them until them are brown on one side, then stir. Continue cooking until they are tender, then add 1-2 minced cloves of garlic and roast another 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, separate the leaves of 1 head of escarole.  Check each leaf for dirt and rinse individually if necessary, then soak in a basin, drain, and spin dry.

Separate the fully blanched leaves from the larger leaves with more green on them.

Make a dressing with 3 T. olive oil, 3 t. stoneground mustard,  the juice of half a lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Chop or tear the larger escarole leaves and place in a salad bowl.  When the beets are done, immediately transfer them into the bowl and toss with the leaves.  Chop the smaller leaves or tear in half and add to the bowl along with the dressing.  Toss.

Serve the salad as it is or add any of the following:  poached eggs, cooked navy or cannellini beans, and/or your favorite grated or crumbled cheese such as parmesan, gorgonzola, or chevre.

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