Monday, September 5, 2011

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

I had never touched a real beat in my life, I don't think, until last summer.  I had seen canned beets, but the consistency and shape left me unsure of what the actual vegetable in it's natural form was really like.  You know, in the wild.

Then all of the sudden they show up everywhere.  I am helping my sister apartment shop in a big city, and we stop in this tiny little restaurant with 8 tables and even few things on the menu, and I look down and see a "Roasted Beet Salad."  I was intrigued, and the intrigue was rewarded with a warm, delicately flavored salad with the most beautiful color I had ever seen in my life.  Then next, in a quick trip back to see the family, I try a new restaurant and HOLD THE PHONE they have a roasted beet salad too, with goat cheese.  Let me tell you, my mind was going places, here. Finally, on a trip to the farmers market where the most beautifully red beets you have ever seen stared back at me from the small little stand and actually screamed at me (I really think I heard them) "You must take me home and cook me right now!", so I did.

I learned a few things. First, your hands will be red for the rest of the day, so just go ahead and accept that. Second, they're really good (I actually knew that already, but I was reminded of it). Third, beats tend to be a little polarizing. I made this for a large group of young women, and many of them didn't venture out far enough to try them, which was a shame.

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

  • 4-5 red or golden beets, peeled
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • goat cheese, sliced into approximately 0.25 inch slices
  • Spring mix, or your favorite salad greens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the beets into wedges (approximately 6-8 per beet).  Place the wedges, some olive oil, salt, and pepper in the mixing bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Pour the wedges out onto a large sheet of aluminum foil in a single layer--have enough aluminum foil that you can fold over half of the foil over the beets and cinch off the edges, creating a large envelope, and keeping the beets in a single layer.

Place the beets wrapped in foil in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a slight crisp edge forms and the centers are tender when pierced. Be careful when opening the foil--retain as much of the oil and juice from the roasting as you can, because you'll add it to the dressing.

While the beets are cooking, place the walnuts in a dry frying pan on the stove on medium heat. Keep them stirring and moving so they don't burn. After a few minutes, add the butter and brown sugar, and stir to coat. You want to form a beautiful candied layer on the nuts. Stir for 3 minutes or so, until slightly carmelized.

To make the dressing, add the olive oil, lemon juice, honey the roasting juices, and some salt and pepper, and whisk until mixed. Toss the dressing with the lettuce, and arrange on plates. Top with cheese, beats, and the nuts.

1 comment:

Andtheknee said...

Ooo, I'll have to make this! I grew to love beets in Costa Rica, but I've actually never seen one either - I always ate what others had prepared. I'm excited!