Even when the weather's nippy, salads are in season. Partnered with hot soup and crunchy bread, they make a well-planned supper. Three of the recipes here combine fresh and lightly cooked vegetables for hearty offerings. Another uses apples coupled with an orange-lemon dressing for a new twist to the old Waldorf standby.
Cold beets are tossed with an unusual nut-cheese combination to create a salad that's both tasty and slightly reminiscent of Russian borsch with the addition of sour cream.
In the Alsatian Cheese Salad, the smoothness of the cheese complements the crisp texture found in the vegetable florets. Beet, Roquefort, and Walnut Salad 10 medium-sized beets 1/4 cup mild salad oil 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup shelled walnuts 1 cup sour cream 1/4 pound Roquefort cheese Freshly gound black pepper to taste
Scrub beets. Trim the tops and roots. Cook in boiling water until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, cool, peel, and cut into julienne strips.
Toss beets with oil, vinegar, and salt. Cover and chill. Let the beets return to room temperature before serving.
Just before serving, toss walnuts and sour cream with beets. Crumble Roquefort over the salad and grind on black pepper to taste.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings. Moroccan Salad 2 small eggplants 1 teaspoon salt 2 tomatoes, cut in large dice 4 scallions, sliced thin 1 cucumber, cut in large dice 1 green pepper, diced 1 sweet red pepper, diced 1/4 cup parsley, minced
Peel eggplant and slice into 1/2-inch rounds. Place eggplant on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and let stand for 30 minutes. Mix dressing while eggplant stands (recipe follows).
Rinse and dry eggplant. On an oiled baking sheet, broil the eggplant until it browns lightly on both sides. Avoid overcooking. Eggplant should be tender enough to cut with a fork.
Cut the warm eggplant into bite-sized pieces. Toss with dressing and let cool for several hours, unrefrigerated.
Just before serving gently toss the other vegetables with eggplant and dressing. Serve on spinach leaves with yogurt or sour cream topping. Dressing: 2 garlic cloves, crushed 3 tablespoons lemon juice 3 tablespoons sesame butter 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons cumin seed 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon oregano Salt to taste Yogurt or sour cream for topping Waldorf Salad Deluxe 6 large tart apples, preferably Yorks or Jonathans 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced 3/4 cup shelled walnut pieces Dressing: 2 tablespoons orange juice 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 cup yogurt 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind 2 teaspoons honey
Cut unpeeled apples into 1/2-inch dice. Toss appples, celery, and walnuts with dressing. Serve on lettuce leaves garnished with orange slices. Alsatian Cheese Salad 3 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch rounds 1 cup frozen green peas 2 cups broccoli florets 2 cups cauliflower florets 3 scallions, finely sliced 3 cups assorted mild cheeses, cut in 1/2-inch dice. A mixture of mild Havarti, Jarlsberg, and Cheddar is nice. 1/2 cup parsley, minced Dressing: 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup yogurt 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons celery seed 1 tablespoon dried tarragon 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Bring two quarts of salted water to a boil in a large kettle. First, drop in the carrots, let the water return to a boil and cook 1 minute. Remove carrots to a colander and rinse under cold water.
Blanching each vegetable separately, repeat this process with peas, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Drain vegetables well and pat dry with paper towel. Toss together in a large bowl. Gently toss cheese with vegetables.
Stir the dressing together and pour over salad. Toss and serve on greens garnished with assorted pickles and fresh vegetable sticks.