Saturday, July 14, 2012

Roasted Beet Salad

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in Raleigh-Durham and had a really great dinner with friends at a popular local restaurant with a highly acclaimed up-and-coming chef. One of the courses included a beet salad and, while I had not really been a big fan of beets in the past, the salad blew me away and changed my opinion completely. While everything they served was very good, the beets were really special. That meal, combined with the really wonderful health benefits of beets and the fact that they are in season now, inspired this dish.

About 10 raw, organic beets, trimmed of "tails" and leaves and washed
About 1/2 cup walnuts (or hazelnuts) chopped and toasted (on the stove top in a little olive oil)
Olive oil, up to 1/2 cup plus some to drizzle & some to toast the nuts
Walnut oil, up to 1/2 cup
1 orange, cut single wedges with no membrane in small pieces (use a sharp knife to cut off peel, then slice out membrane-less wedges)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Sea salt & pepper
Optional topper - sprinkle with feta cheese, goat cheese, or grated parmesan

How To:
1. Roast Beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a piece of aluminum foil over a cookie sheet that is long enough for you to be able to pull up the edges to make a "pouch". Then place a smaller piece of parchment on top of the foil in the area where your beets will sit. Wash and trim beets and then place on sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bring foil up around beets and pinch together at the top so they bake in a little pouch of foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove from oven and let sit another ten minutes (make sure your pouch is closed). When cool enough, peel (use a knife to scrape or paper towels to scrub) and slice then chop into bite sized pieces. Set aside. Be careful, the beets will stain your fingers so you may want to wear gloves.

Lovely mixed bag of beets (the orange ones are "Golden Beets")

2. Make Vinaigrette: In the meantime, make the vinaigrette and toast the nuts. For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the oils (I used about equal amounts of both to make a half cup total), mustard, vinegars (same drill, I used about equal amounts of both, but any combination would be ok), and salt & pepper. Mix well and then add in garlic, onion, and oranges and gently stir to combine.

3. Toast Walnuts: For the nuts, add to a small pan with oil and "toast" over medium to medium-high heat until the smell is strong but not too long - they will burn quickly when you're not looking.

4. Combine: Add the vinaigrette to the roasted beets, then top with toasted nuts (and optional cheese topper, if using).
Comments: This makes quite a bit so you could easily halve. It is great for side dishes or lunches and stores nicely for a few days in the refrigerator. And remember, stay flexible! If you don't have oranges, make it anyway. It will still taste good. If you only have a white onion, use that! If you are out of sherry vinegar but have balsamic, use that! This is a wonderful little salad and very flexible too.

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This recipe was shared at Thank Your Body Thursday and Simple Meals Friday. Please follow the links for other great recipes and ideas!

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