Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Garden Raid: Beet Edition

In addition to that wonderful broccoli, I also scored some Swiss chard and a bunch of beets from bro's garden this weekend. The chard was sauteed and consumed on Sunday; and last night the beets adorned this scrumptious composed salad.

Beets have long been a Diva favorite, though of late I've been a bit wary due to their sugar content. Turns out there's more than just the sweet stuff inside these ruby red beauties. Beets are rich in Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese Phosphorus and Copper. They are also high in Vitamin C, Folate and fiber, and contain smaller amounts of Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin A, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Riboflavin to name but a few.

While they have the highest sugar content of any vegetable, there are enough mitigating nutrients for me to feel good about eating them regardless. And, hey, they're delicious - especially when roasted.

This is another no recipe - recipe ... meaning the measurements are loose and you shouldn't feel constrained by the list of ingredients. While beet topped salads are more traditionally paired with a soft goat cheese - cheddar was what I had on hand last night. I believe in using what you've got so use whatever cheese you like here. Ditto for the nuts. My intention was to top the salad with some salty smoked almonds ... as it happened I didn't have any and neither did Fairway. I opted for sesame coated almonds instead and no one cried.

Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Sharp Cheddar and Sesame Almonds:

Basic Lemon Vinaigrette:
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • generous grating of fresh black pepper
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley, chives or dill
Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup to equal 1/4 cup. To the oil add the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper, directly into the measuring cup and whisk well using a small wire whisk until the dressing has emulsified. Add some chopped fresh herbs of your choice, any would work well. Whisk again and reserve.

For the Beets:
  • 4 large beets, washed, peeled and cut into cubes (about 1 inch or so)
  • 2 tsp. Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and while it heats, place the cubed beets in a small bowl and toss with a splash of Champagne vinegar and some olive oil. Add a pinch of salt, a grinding of fresh black pepper and toss to coat. Pour the beets onto a cookie sheet or into the bottom of an oven-safe pie dish in an even layer, spread them out and cover the sheet or dish with some foil. Roast in the middle of a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, return the pan to the oven and continue roasting for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the beets have begun to brown and are tender. Test, and if they're not done to your liking, continue roasting until desired texture is achieved. When tender, remove from oven, place in a bowl and reserve.

Composing the Salad:
  • some baby arugula, romaine or any kind of greens you like
  • Basic Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Roasted Beets
  • some shaved sharp cheddar cheese (or whatever kind you like)
  • some chopped sesame coated almonds (or whatever kind of nut you prefer)
Place some arugula or lettuce in a small bowl and toss with some of the lemon vinaigrette to coat. Place the dressed greens on a serving plate, top with the beets, cheese and nuts to taste. Serve and enjoy with additional dressing on the side to be passed at table.

As written this recipe will yield 2 - 4 salads, depending on size. Smaller salads make a lovely side dish or starter course, while larger ones can be the focus of the meal. I served mine with some excellent roast chicken and a more perfect summer meal I cannot imagine.

Big ups to my bro for all the delicious produce this week. The season's only just begun and we're off to a tasty start!

Bon appetit!


Heavenly Housewife said...

sounds like a delicious summer salad :)

The Duo Dishes said...

Beeeeeets! We're new to beet love. Beets in a can? Blech. Freshly roasted beets? YUM! Thank goodness for that otherwise we'd never realize how good they are.

Lola said...

This looks delicious.

Donna-FFW said...

Roasted beets, champagne vinegar..sounds so delicious.

Anonymous said...

Worcestershire sauce - nice touch!

Tangled Noodle said...

The only beets I've really ever eaten have been in borscht. I would definitely give this a try, especially if it also has sharp cheddar and almonds!