Recipe from chef-owner Lynette Hawkins Mandola, La Mora, Houston.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons pancetta (2 or 3 ounces), sliced 1/8-inch thick and then cut into 1/4-inch squares (you may substitute prosciutto)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste

Sauté pancetta over medium heat until lightly crisp. (If using prosciutto, sauté in a little olive oil.) Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon rendered fat, and set aside.

Combine vinegars and sugar. Whisk in olive oil and rendered fat. (If pancetta yields too little fat, make up difference with olive oil.) Whisk in salt and pepper.


2 medium fresh beets
1 medium head radicchio
1/4 head curly endive
1 yellow bell pepper
4 ounces mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, French feta, or Texas goat cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Trim leafy tops off beets. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Unwrap and allow to cool. Peel and slice about 1/4-inch thick.

Quarter radicchio lengthwise and remove core. Slice leaves into thin slivers. Rinse and dry with paper towels or in a salad spinner. Tear curly endive into bite-size pieces. Rinse and dry.

Using tongs, roast pepper over a gas flame, turning until skin is uniformly blistered. (If you do not have a gas stove, broil pepper in a pan, turning until blistered.) Place in a bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and allow to cool. Remove skin, stem, and seeds. Slice pepper into narrow strips.

To serve, toss radicchio, curly endive, and pancetta with half of dressing. Place equal amounts on 4 plates. Top with sliced beets arranged in an overlapping pattern. Place strips of pepper on top of beets. (Allow 5 or 6 slices of beet and 3 or 4 strips of pepper per serving.) Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle over salads. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Serves 4 generously.