I should have blue cheese running through my veins as I love all varieties that much. I was the weird kid that thought blue cheese was the greatest thing since sliced bread, or rather sliced red onion, as that is what my taste buds crave with blue cheese.
When invited by Honest Cooking to partner with CASTELLO® in a Summer of Blue campaign, I jumped at the chance. But, when creating this recipe on a very hot and humid Florida Gulf Coast afternoon, after my Dad was just hospitalized for dehydration, I wanted something cool with my CASTELLO® Extra Creamy Danish Blue. Beets! Another of my favorite foods, yet something I very rarely cook at home. A challenge!
Yes, it is tempting to top a burger with blue, or add the creamy blue to my popular Gulf shrimp and grits, and I have been known to stuff blue cheese in my biscuits on Sunday before baking. Also, there is nothing better than sweet summer figs and blue cheese pressed between bread, slathered with butter and then griddled, or on top of a flatbread pizza. But… I opted to steam and then cool red and golden beets, for a sweet salad that is topped with tangy blue cheese, spicy red onion, salted toasted local pecans, surrounded by fresh arugula, basil from my garden, and then drizzled with a delicious orange vinaigrette for a touch of acidity. Fresh, cool, creamy, decadent… just one bite, and you will be hooked!
Whether it’s a sharp flavor, sweet floral notes, or a nutty aroma, blue cheese can come in many different forms. With crumbles, spreadables, slices and chunks,CASTELLO® blue cheeses are the perfect way to transform a blah meal into an amazing one! There are so many things to do with blue!
If you’re exploring Castello’s blue cheeses for the first time, or just want to learn a little more, you can download the detailed information sheet here.
Late Summer Beet, Arugula, Basil & Creamy Blue Cheese Salad topped with Salted Pecans & Orange Vinaigrette
5 ounces organic baby arugula
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves large chop
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 pound beets (about 2 medium sized golden and red to total 4 beets)
3 tablespoons Salted Pecans
1/4 cup crumbled CASTELLO® Extra Creamy Danish Blue
Separately scrub red and golden beets clean, cut each in 1/2 and place in a steamer basket. Cook on medium high heat about 15 minutes until al dente (cooked through but still firm). Remember not to cook red and golden together. Remove from basket, cool and then rub the skins gently off. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons good balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon good extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, zest, honey, vinegar, mustard and oil; season with salt and pepper
Quick Salted Pecans
You can purchase pecans salted. I opted to buy mine from my friend, Renee Savary , an organic “farmher” who owns Twin Oaks Farms in Bonifay, Florida. Her chickens are molting so she is currently without eggs, her organic self sustaining bee hive is not producing, but her heritage pork, preserves, jams and jellies are rocking my world!
1 lb pecans halved
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup butter
Melt butter in microwave oven. Add salt and toss with pecans. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 300°F degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, and cool on paper towels.
Arrange the golden beets on one side of the plate, red beets on the other, and pile arugula tossed with basil and red onion in the center of the plate. Arrange salted pecans and creamy blue cheese on top of salad plate, and then lightly drizzle with the orange viniagrette.
Tip: Cook the red and golden beets separately, as the red will definitely take over your plate and anything in its way!
Note: The benefits of beets are endless. Beets contain a color pigment called betalain, a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, fungicidal, and aid in detoxification. Beets are rich in many vitamins and considered an all-around healer.