And let’s follow that statement immediately with the next assertion: I think that roasted vegetables might be Food’s gift to Fall. Or Fall’s gift to Food? (Both?)
So things I have roasted recently- brussel sprouts, broccolini, asparagus, potatoes.. to name a few. And the fun part always comes with figuring out how to dress them up a little. Maybe some slivered garlic… maybe a little vinaigrette… maybe some rosemary and thyme. (Confession: I made killer roasted broccolini with lemon vinaigrette tonight and I’ll need to share this with you post haste).
But today’s post is about this here Fall Vegetable and Watercress Salad. Back to the recipe at hand! When I try to create a recipe (regardless of vegetable preparation method), I’m always thinking of the balance of the following flavors: bitter, salty, sweet, and tangy. So many cooks forget to adjust these flavors to the proper balance and food can fall flat. I’m the cook that’s always tasting things at the last minute and adding a dash more salt, maybe a little sugar or honey, or maybe a hit of vinegar or lemon juice at the very end is what’s needed. Sauces are fun for this because you can adjust things exactly the way you want it along the way.
With salad you have to strike the right balance between the individual ingredients. Let’s consider a classic: Pear and gorgonzola salad with a vinaigrette. You have the sweet=pear, salty=cheese, bitter=cheese, and tangy=vinaigrette.
And in this recipe, in lieu of fruit there is a medley of honey-roasted root vegetables (sweet), ontop of a bed of watercress (bitter), dressed with vinaigrette (tangy), and dotted with goat cheese (salty). Thus, this, in my mind, is salad perfection.
Let’s talk about the veg- I used mini carrots, long scarlet radishes, rutabaga, and turnips. I also think using turnips, squash, or sweet potato could work quite well with this recipe. The vegetables are honey-ed before the roasting, so you want to be careful to cover them for the first part of the roasting process and then uncover part way through. This helps prevent burning.Watercress goes perfectly with the roasted vegetables, but feel free to substitute using other bitter/spicy greens such as arugula if you can’t find watercress.
The vinaigrette is a basic red wine vinaigrette sweetened with honey. And the entire salad is made whole by dotting it with crumbles of creamy goat cheese. (Which is probably my favorite cheese application process because it invariably requires licking one’s fingers clean of goat cheese at the end of it all.)
Fall Vegetable and Watercress Salad
_For the Vinaigrette_