roasted beets salad with balsamic vinegar glaze

serves 4

One bunch of carrots
One bunch of purple beets
One bunch of orange beets
Half a pound of Arugula salad (250g)
½ cup of olive oil (120 ml)
½ cup of balsamic vinegar (120 ml)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
One thick slice of Stilton blue cheese
Salt & pepper

Turn on the oven at 370F (190°C). Wash, brush and dry the vegetables but don’t peel them- the skin contains a lot of vitamins, and will give a nice crunch to the salad. Cut the beets in quarters and the carrots in fine strips, drizzle with olive oil, add some fresh pepper and salt and roast for 40 minutes - check your oven: they are not all born equal! 

While the vegetables are roasting, make the balsamic vinegar glaze (you can also do the glaze the day before). On medium high, boil the vinegar with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup for about 10 minutes until it starts thickening. Don’t walk away, your glaze needs the same attention than a caramel - if you leave it unattended, it will choose that moment to burn away. 

Transfer the glaze in a small container and refrigerate - it will thicken more as it cools down. You can speed up that process in the freezer. The glaze will keep for a week in your fridge. While the glaze is cooling, wash & dry the arugula, cut the Silton cheese in crumbled pieces (Bleu d’Auvergne works well as a replacement). Once the vegetables have nicely browned, toss them in your salad with arugula and Stilton, before drizzling with balsamic vinegar glaze and a splash of olive oil.

Seasonal vegetables at the market, old cookbooks from the library, your grand mother's recipes, a random photograph, a frame from a film, the memory of a taste : food inspiration can come from all over the place. But often the best cooking tips come from complete strangers. When a random guy with an old fashioned mustache told me how to make balsamic vinegar glaze with maple syrup, I ran back home to test it.

Of course there is the old debate: only a handful of producers really make authentic balsamic vinegar, and every other bottle calling itself 'balsamic' is just white vinegar mixed with caramel. But the good news is, since this glaze actually is a caramel, it doesn't really matter. I love the flavor brought by maple syrup – but honey or even brown sugar work as substitutes. This glaze works wonders in a salad with roasted beets and carrots – and why not crumbling some Stilton on top ?

The guy with the old fashioned mustache really is actually a real 'made-from-scratch kind of guy' : he also brews his own cider in his basement. His balsamic vinegar glaze recipe marks the very start of the mini-series 'my life in sourdough'. You can watch him in the first episode here. And the food video for this salad can be found above.