Give me a beet, and I will give you my heart. I have a new found passion for this stunning vegetable. The beet I have uncovered in my early forties is quite different from what I remember growing up, when my mom would heat them straight from the can. No, these beets are amazing, beautiful, earthy, and delicious. Red, yellow, baby, or striped. I will try any. I’m not quite certain how nature achieves such magnificent colors, and the beet is just one shining example. Recently when I boiled some beets in their skins, I reserved the water and cooked pasta in it the next day. My kids devoured it and wondered why it was pink pasta, and I am still amazed at the fun to be discovered in the kitchen.
So I decided I wanted to share a simple creation I have made for a warm beet & chevre salad with pickled sweet onion, a fabulous side dish as spring fades into summer. Not to mention, it is super healthy and light! Even the roasting part is quite easy, so if you have never done it don’t be afraid, give it a shot. Try something new, give yourself a beet, and open your mind and your kitchen to exploring all the local wonders that are out there this season.
To roast beets:
Wash beets well, real well of dirt, and trim beets of greens just above where the root meets the greens. Place on sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, lightly drizzle with oil, then wrap into a closed package. Place on a cookie sheet in a preheated 375 oven. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the size of the beet. When pierced with a fork or knife they should be tender through out. Let cool about ten minutes until easy to handle, and peel skins from each beet by gently rubbing until loose. I like to slice them at this point so they are ready to use, just about 1/4 inch slice, unless I am preparing them for the following recipe. In that case, leave whole and cover in the foil to keep warm, and slice just before assembly. Roast some extra’s, they are great chilled and used later in salads and other recipes. (Your fingers will be pink!)
Warm Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pickled Onion & Mint
- Half of a sweet onion, red onion, or one whole shallot
- Red wine vinegar, about 1/4 – 1/2 cup
- 4-6 medium sized beets, roasted, peeled, and sliced
- small log (5 oz) of goat cheese-you won’t use it all (but crumbling it yourself is better than bought crumbles, trust me)
- enough good quality olive oil to drizzle generously
- mint sprigs or fresh herbs for garnish & chiffonade (sounds fancy but it’s really just thinly sliced strips of mint)
- While beets are roasting, thinly slice, or dice if you prefer, half of a sweet onion, red onion, or shallot to your liking. Key word…thinly, as thin as you can without losing your finger tip! Place in small bowl and “almost cover” with red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and set aside, stir occasionally. *(leftover pickled onions are great on taco’s, salads, sandwiches and more…get creative!)
- When ready to serve, have all ingredients ready and set out. Arrange the still warm beet rounds in a stack, about 3-4 per serving depending on thickness of slice, with one small crumble of goat cheese between each layer. *(Or, if beets are prepared in advance, heat in a shallow dish to re-heat, 350 for a few minutes until completely warm through.)
- While beets are hot, sprinkle generously with crumbled goat cheese so the beet in turn warms the cheese, it is important that beets are warm when you crumble cheese over them. Don’t worry if the beets aren’t hot once served, if the goat cheese goes on while warm and gets a little melty, then that is all the magic you’ll need!
- Top each stack with one teaspoon of pickled onion if diced, or scatter sliced onions over top, drizzle with nice olive oil. Garnish with mint chiffonade and sprigs on the side, and serve. Serves about 4, easily doubled!
Simple, see? Paired with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc, nicely grilled herb marinated chicken, and a simple cast iron hot potato salad- restaurant quality in your own home, but better.
I hope you enjoy this recipe… and the best of food and life throughout all the seasons!