Roasted Beet Salad With Walnut Vinaigrette
Well, I think I've made it through all of my farmers' market purchases from Saturday!
Some of the strawberries and the basil were turned into strawberry shortcake sammies and sugared basil leaves. I talk about these sugared basil leaves so much, you must think I'm obsessed, and I won't deny that I am. I've actually been working on the recipe and have finally come up with a crisp version that's more like what I had at Bergamot. It definitely impressed my family and extended family who tried the basil at my sister's graduation party this past weekend. I'll share the new recipe with you soon!
The rest of the strawberries and the mint made for sweet, summery strawberry mojitos when mixed with some rum, simple syrup, and club soda. I would share this recipe if I used one, but I honestly just muddled strawberries and mint, added some simple syrup, added some rum, added some club soda, added a little more rum, added a little more club soda -- well, you get it!
And those beautiful beets... I roasted them, paired them with compatible ingredients, and created a tantalizing salad with earthy, seasonal flavors.
I know that beets aren't favored by everyone, but even if you know you don't like traditional red beets, you should give these golden and Chioggia beets a try. They're much sweeter. And cutting them open, especially the Chioggia beets, reveals beautiful rings, which might even entice someone who's "anti-beet."
This elegant, farm fresh salad calls for several steps but isn't all that complicated. Below I've given you the steps to follow to have all the components ready at relatively the same time. Depending on how large your beets are, you may have to roast them longer and could end up waiting on them a little -- this is the perfect time to pour yourself a glass of wine, kick back on the couch, or catch up on blog reading (something I really need to do).
Roasted Beet Salad With Walnut Vinaigrette (adapted from Bouchon)
One small bunch of Chioggia beets
One small bunch of golden beets
Sunflower or canola oil
Salt and pepper
About 1/4 cup of pine nuts
About 1/2 cup of walnuts (halves and pieces, or chopped)
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh squeezed is recommended)
1/4 cup walnut oil
Small log of goat cheese
3.5 ounce package of Mache
About 1/4 cup of dried cherries
Start by roasting the beets, as this is the most time-consuming step. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tops and bottoms off all of the beets, and scrub them gently under running water. Set out two pieces of foil -- each large enough to hold one type of beet -- on a sheet pan. Place the Chioggia beets on one piece of foil, and place the golden beets on the other. Drizzle all of the beets with the sunflower or canola oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Close up the foil packets and transfer the beets to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes or until you can push the tip of a knife through the beets with ease. Set aside to cool enough to handle.
While the beets are roasting, set out two more pieces of foil on another sheet pan. Place the pine nuts on one piece of foil and the walnuts on the other. Tuck these in the oven on the rack below the beets to toast. The pine nuts will likely be done after 10 minutes and the walnuts after 15 or 20 minutes. You can lift the pine nuts, foil and all, right off the sheet pan and put them on a rack to cool. Leave the walnuts in until they are well toasted, and then transfer them to a rack to cool too.
While toasting and roasting, make your salad dressing. Whisk the mustard, champagne vinegar, and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the walnut oil, and then season to taste with salt and pepper. (I like to dip a leaf of whatever green I'm having into the dressing to test the flavor. It's much more effective than just dipping your finger in and tasting the dressing on its own.) Set the dressing aside.
Place the log of goat cheese on the counter, so it will come to room temperature or close by the time you use it.
By now your beets are cool enough to handle, or you're playing the waiting game. When your beets are cool enough to handle, rub them with paper towels to remove the skin (a trick I learned from Ad Hoc at Home -- it keeps your hands cleaner and simplifies the whole process). Cut the beets in quarters or dice them depending on how big they are and what size chunks you want in your salad.
Assemble your salad. Place a handful of Mache on a large dinner plate. Drizzle with dressing, and toss until the rosettes are evenly coated.
Top with some of the roasted beets. Sprinkle some toasted walnuts, toasted pine nuts, and cherries on top. Lastly, decorate the salad with some dollops of goat cheese, and drizzle with more dressing, if desired.
The measurements above are not all exact, so you can use what you have on hand and create a personalized portion. I made two dinner salads and one lunch salad from the ingredients above (assemble each salad separately when you're ready to eat it so your greens don't get soggy.)
Feel free to substitute a different dressing, your favorite kind of nut, or whatever dried fruit you think will perk up the salad. You can also use lettuce instead of the Mache (a European salad green). I just love the look of the green rosettes and the nutty flavor they add. And if you're not a lover of goat cheese, you could try Parmesan or ricotta salata instead.
Do you like beets? What would you make with some bunches of beets?