Inspired by a painting with some captivating reds, I conceived this salad. The first versions used walnuts and goat cheese with raspberries and were really nice, but I wanted another layer. The final version evolved with a crowning finish of an aged balsamic vinegar reduced with raspberries. I decided that pecans and blue cheese worked better. So the photos show the states along the way. —Sagegreen
Ahead of time in a shallow roasting pan, add 2 tbl. of olive oil. Preheat oven to 350. Roll the unpeeled beets and garlic head around in the oil in the pan. Cover and roast for about 45 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted easily into the largest beet. Let cool. Skin the beets then.
Squish out the contents from the roasted garlic head. Add to a jar. Then combine with the other ingredients from the first dressing. Shake well to create an emulsion. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed for sweetness, saltiness, and acidity.
Close to serving time combine the arugula, diced beets, onion half rings, diced avocado and about 2 oz. of the fresh raspberries in a large bowl. Adding a tablespoon at a time, lightly dress the salad with the vinaigrette until the arugula leaves are just coated. Do not drown. You may have dressing left over. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Heat a pan and toast the pecans. Set aside. In the same pan add 4 oz of raspberries with the balsamic vinegar on moderately high heat. Reduce by about 1/3.
Add the toasted pecans and crumpled blue cheese to the salad. Drizzle the warm reduced raspberry balsamic on top of the salad as the final touch with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt and fresh milled peppercorns.