Are you afraid of beets? I used to be afraid of them. My husband still is afraid of them. What is it about the beet that puts them in the category of brussel sprouts and cauliflower? I remember pickled beets being slopped on my tray in the cafeteria line in elementary school and the memory is still chilling. But one day at the urging of someone that is a really good cook and I trust with my tastebuds, suggested I tried a roasted beet. It was divine. Aside from the gorgeous color, they are sweet and dense and just plain good. And good for you. Being that I live near some of the best farmer’s markets that the world has to offer I am pretty lucky to get crazy hybrid beets on any given day. Yellow, white, candy striped, purple, they are one of the most beautiful vegetables out there. If you think that you do not like beets, try eating them roasted. You will change your mind.
Grab a piece of heavy tin foil and fold it in half. Peel 4-5 beets. (I recommend that you wear some gloves while peeling your beets otherwise you will have purple stained hands for the rest of the day.) Quarter them and put them on the tin foil. Drizzle them with some olive oil and a generous dose of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. I had some fresh rosemary so I added some chopped rosemary as well. Fold up the tin foil to make a purse and put in a 400 degree over for about an hour. They are done when you can stick a knife in one and get no resistance.
In the meantime, I made some dressing. I never, ever, buy salad dressing. It is the easiest thing to make and I don’t like to have all of the bottles in my fridge. Here is a good base recipe for a simple vinaigrette. I don’t usually measure when I am making this, it is okay to just wing it. Taste the dressing on a salad leaf and go from there. I use a small Mason jar with a lid to shake and store this dressing.
2 Tablespoons of something sweet (honey, maple syrup, orange marmalade, apricot preserves, you get the idea) I used maple syrup for this particular salad.
2 Tablespoons of an acid (balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, lemon juice) I used red wine vinegar for this one.
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard (I just give it 2 good size squeezes from the bottle)
some Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Put the lid on and shake it really well. Open the jar and add anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil. I like a more vinegar-y dressing. Use the amount that tastes good to you. Put the lid back on and shake again. You can keep this in the fridge and just shake it up again before you use it. It would be great on just about anything.
Add some of the dressing and toss. I do not like a salad heavy on the dressing. I like the leaves to just glisten from the oil and vinegar. Add the roasted beets on top. I had some blue cheese and walnuts leftover from the Blue Cheese Bacon dip so I put them on as well. This was a perfect dinner salad. The beets are hearty enough to make it a meal. Some good crusty bread and it is done.
This salad has infinite possibilities and I make about a thousand different versions of it. Play with it and see what you can come up with.