Recipe 6.2: Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
I have to say that roasted beets are my new favorite food! They are ridiculously easy to prepare, healthy, delicious, and oh-so-good for you! (Did I mention that they are easy to prepare???) Beets contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Add to all these health benefits the fact that beets are seriously tasty and you've got a winner any way you slice 'em.
Do note that the beets are dark red (this is a signal of their incredibly high levels of antioxidants) and their juice can stain! I always cut beets on a plastic cutting board (no wood) so I can just throw it in the dishwasher to avoid staining. Also, since you are peeling the beets, your fingers will turn red. This is no biggie - you can wash the redness off by scrubbing with soap or by rubbing a cut lemon on your hands. If you're worried about the redness you can always wear gloves for the peeling.
1 bunch beets (3-4)
6 cups field greens
1 small log goat cheese
½ cup walnuts
4 tbs. grapeseed oil
3 tbs. sherry vinegar
1 tbs. finely minced shallot
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off root and stem of beets and scrub beets thoroughly. Wrap each beet in foil, then place on baking sheet. Roast beets in oven for 40-60 minutes, depending on size of beets. (I had one small and two larger beets, so I pulled the small one out at 40 minutes, and let the two larger beets go for about 60 minutes total. They were perfect.)
Prepare vinaigrette. Place finely minced shallot in bowl, then add vinegar. Drip the oil in SLOWLY, whisking as you go. Your goal is to keep the entire vinaigrette together (so that the oil and vinegar do not separate. If it doesn't happen, it's okay. It is hard to do and takes practice!) Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper, to taste. Slice cheese into small chunks and dip into crushed walnuts to coat. Goat cheese has a very strong flavor - I would recommend only putting 2 small pieces of goat cheese on each salad, as a little goes a long way.
Wash field greens, then begin to prepare salad once beets are almost finished cooking. Fill bowls with 1 ½ cups lettuce each, then top with walnut-crusted goat cheese and 2 tbs. vinaigrette. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Once beets are cooked, remove from oven and unwrap foil. Slice each beet in half and allow to cool so you can handle them without burning yourself. Peel skin off each section of beet, then slice into smaller chunks. Add beets to salad and toss to combine.