Recipe 2.2: Savory Summer Salad
This salad was a bit of an experiment – but it paid off in spades! The salad is savory, sweet, and salty, and filled with fresh farmer’s market ingredients. I served it with a chunk of freshly baked multi-grain bread. You might feel a bit scared by the beets in the salad: don’t be!!! They are so delicious, with a deep sweet flavor. I did a version of roasting here so that the beets stayed crisp to add dimension to the other soft ingredients.
3 chiogga beets (you could also substitute red or golden beets)
1 large head of lettuce
1 yellow onion
8 slices of bacon
1 cup gorgonzola crumbles
4 chunks multi-grain or whole wheat bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep beets by cutting off their tops and peeling off skin. Slice beets into smaller pieces. Lay on baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tbs. salt and just a pinch of black pepper. Place in middle of oven. Cook until fragrant and you can easily insert a fork into flesh, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once beets are in the oven, heat a medium frypan over medium-medium high heat. Add 2 tbs. olive oil. Prep onion for sautéing by removing skin, cutting off roots, and slicing thin. Add to hot oil. Allow onion to caramelize, stirring often, 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut bacon into 1-inch pieces. Cook in a small frypan over medium heat until bacon reaches desired crispiness, 8-10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and pat to remove excess grease.
While bacon, beets, and onion cook, prep lettuce. I like to wash my lettuce in the sink by creating a little “bath” for it. I first wash out my sink, then put in the stopper and fill it with cold water. Cut off the base end of your head of lettuce, separate the leaves and float in water, pushing down so all the lettuce is submerged. I add some ice on top of the lettuce to keep it underwater and also to keep the bath nice and cold. When the lettuce comes out it will be crisp, clean and ready to go. Soak lettuce for at least five minutes. Swish the leaves around with your hand to remove any excess dirt, then remove and place in a salad spinner. Spin dry, then place on cutting board. Slice lettuce into ½ inch strips. (If you don’t have a salad spinner, you could use a colander and a towel to dry lettuce.)
Once everything is ready, assemble salad! Each bowl should receive a pile of lettuce, ⅛ cup gorgonzola crumbles, ⅛ cup bacon bits, ½ cup roasted beets, ¼ cup sautéed onions, a sprinkle of black pepper, and 2 tbs. basalmic vinegar. Toss together and serve alongside a wedge of multi-grain bread. Enjoy!