Sexing up the Waldorf

I have been asked to cater a New Years Eve party for friends in their villa..The menu is simple but sumptuous. Three canapés, Porchetta with fondant potatoes and stir fried cavolo nero with garlic and chilli.To end, chocolate mousse cake with fresh mandarins. However, as always in the planning stage, several dietary requirements and dislikes had to be taken into account.
Peppers brought out a big NO from the host, so my starter for eight of Piquillo pepper mousse with parmesan crisps was first to be knocked out of the ring.
Salads are always an option.After the holy trinity of Christmas day( Smoked salmon,the bird and the pud) has passed, one craves for the healthier options. In our household we never cease to be disloyal to the trinity.Potted shrimps,octopus salad, duck and trifle are are our most favourite items for the festive dinner.
At this time of year when over indulgence has hit hard, and I speak from my own point of view here, I have a yen for raddicio, little gem and Romaine leaves with hard -boiled eggs,anchovies,capers but I know too many who wage vendettas against one or all of those hapless ingredients not to take the chance.Sigh.
 So,I thought I would sex up the traditional Waldorf salad incorporating among other ingredients beetroot and grilled goats cheese, in my mind always a match made in heaven, but then combine them with little gem leaves and the three main components of the classic Waldorf, celery, apple and a creamy dressing.

Almost a Waldorf Salad
(quantities per portion.Increase the ingredients accordingly per number of servings )
1/2 little gem lettuce per portion
1/4 medium sweet dessert apple cut into small chunks
small handful chopped walnuts per portion
1/2 small roasted beetroot cut into rounds
1/2 stick celery finely chopped 
chopped parsley to garnish
4 medium slices of Goats cheese,cut from a log,preferably chevre,per portion  

Creamy dressing
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp home made mayonnaise

In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
In a medium bowl tear  up the little gem leaves and combine with the celery and apple chunks.Toss in some of the dressing making sure everything is coated.Set aside.
Put the slices of Goats cheese on a roasting tray under the grill until melted and bubbling.
While the cheese is grilling,assemble the leaves apple and celery on a serving plate.Tuck the beetroot rounds in and around the leaves trying not to stain the rest of the salad.Scatter the chopped walnuts over the salad.
Bring the goats cheese from the grill and carefully place them on top of the salad.Add a little more dressing over the salad and finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.


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