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Warm Beet and Strawberry Salad with Lardo and Cava Vinaigrette

By Matthew Jennings From Moveable Feast Season 1, Ep.6
Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

Salty crumbled ricotta salata and lardo (cured pork fat back), with its melt-in-your mouth texture and rich pork flavor, complement sweet roasted beets and juicy strawberries.


For the beets

  • 2 lb. trimmed small to medium beets (8 to 10), preferably a mix of colors including at least 3 red, scrubbed clean
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette

  • 2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. cava or other dry sparkling wine
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 small clove garlic, mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad

  • Extra-virgin olive oil as needed
  • 12 ripe strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
  • 4 oz. baby arugula (4 packed cups)
  • 6 paper-thin slices lardo, prosciutto, or other salumi
  • 4 oz. ricotta salata, crumbled

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 310
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 150
  • Fat (g): 17
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Cholesterol (mg): 35
  • Sodium (mg): 980
  • Carbohydrates (g): 20
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 14


Roast the beets

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400 °F.
  • Put the beets in a small baking dish. Add the wine, juniper berries, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cover with foil and roast until easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Reserving the liquid in the dish, transfer the beets to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut them into 1/2-inch wedges. Coarsely chop enough of the red beets to yield 1 cup.
  • Transfer the chopped beets to a blender along with 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid. Blend to a smooth, thick purée, adding more liquid as needed. Transfer to a small bowl.

Make the vinaigrette

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, cava, lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic paste, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil all at once and whisk briefly. The vinaigrette will not emulsify, and that’s OK.

Assemble the salad

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Spread the roasted beet wedges on a small rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with a little oil, and roast until reheated, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Dollop a spoonful of beet purée off-center on each of 6 plates and, using the back of the spoon, drag it across the plate to create a smear. (If presenting the salad on a large serving platter, use all of the purée to make the smear.)
  • Toss the beets and the strawberries with just enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat and place them on the plate, leaving some of the purée visible. Toss the arugula with just enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat and mound it on top. Drape the lardo over the salads, sprinkle with the ricotta, drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette, and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The beets can be roasted and the purée made up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate separately. Before serving, let the purée come to room temperature.


Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.

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Reviews (1 review)

  • user-4689271 | 03/17/2015

    I am surprised there aren't any reviews for this recipe, as it was excellent! I left out the prosciutto, juniper berries, and cava (didn't have them), and substituted goat cheese for ricotta salata. This recipe is a keeper and I will make it the exact same way next time. I served it with a baguette and it made a great, light dinner.

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