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Cooking the Book: Roasted Beet Salad

2012 February 23

Okay, one more mention of Valentine’s Day and then I’m done for a year or so, I swear.

While I was home alone for dinner on V-Day (before my wonderful husband came home from his work dinner with flowers and cards and chocolate-covered strawberries, because, did I mention, he is wonderful), whipping up a one-person version of this chicken— which we refer to in The Kitchenette as Chicken with Awesomesauce because the sauce is so awesome — I figured I might as well put together a two-person side and I could have the leftovers for lunch the next day. The picture in the book looks delish and since Mr. K isn’t the world’s biggest beet fan, the choice was easy.

I have to admit, this isn’t my all-time favorite roasted beet dish. That said, I also have to admit I ate the entire recipe single-handedly while waiting for Mr. Kitchenette to come home. It’s not that I have any complaints with it; clearly, it goes down easy. There is something deliciously earthy about roasted beets and toasted nuts together and the oranges and sherry vinegar provide a great acidic counterpoint. I just feel like it’s lacking some…. zing, I guess? It’s good, though, and I’d probably make it again if I had all the ingredients on hand. It’s just not a revelation.

The Good

Well, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. Roasted is pretty much the only way to go with beets, as far as I’m concerned. I think this could make for a reasonably healthy, filling vegetarian dinner for one on its own, which is pretty cool. Beets plus nuts plus cheese is generally a winning combination.

Also, beet red plus arugula green (with little moments of white cheese) is so pretty I want to paint a dining room these colors!

The Bad

The truth is that I don’t have anything actually bad to say. Just “meh.” I feel like there could be some spice or garlicky zing that would make me more excited about this salad. Maybe some cayenne in the vinaigrette? I’m not sure.

The ricotta salata (pressed, salted and dried ricotta) I used wasn’t the most exciting cheese in the world, and I don’t think that helped anything. Really fine examples of this sheep’s milk cheese should be nutty and salty and earthy, but the wedge I picked up at my local megamart fell kind of flat. As in, I wouldn’t eat slices of it on a cracker, so I probably shouldn’t have cooked with it, either. Do as I say, not as I do, y’all. Maybe try this with a chunk of Pecorino Romano or that Parrano the cheesemonger at Eastern Market loves to introduce people to…. hmmm… Or just go back to the beetroot’s constant cheese companion, goat cheese crumbles.

The Leftovers

I love, love, love blood oranges and part of what is so awesome about them is their dramatic color, a deep burgundy-red that is otherwise unexpected in a citrus dish. It’s lovely, almost the same color as…. yes, beets. The flavor is there, but the blood oranges get a little lost in the shuffle because they are the same color as the beets. I think if I try this one again, it will be either with a navel orange or a variety of colors of beets for purely aesthetic purposes.

Roasted Beet Salad with Blood Orange and Almonds

from Cooking for Two 2011

Serves 2

A navel orange can be substituted for the blood orange.

Ingredients

1 pound beets (about 4), greens discarded

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 teaspoons sherry vinegar

salt and pepper

1 ounce baby arugula (about one cup)

1 blood orange, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 ounce ricotta salata, shaved

2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Method

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets individually in foil and place on rimmed baking sheet. Roast beets until skewer  inserted into center meets little resistance (you will need to unwrap beets to rest them), 45 to 60 minutes.

Remove beets from oven and carefully open foil packets (watch for escaping steam). When beets are cool enough to handle, carefully and gently rub off skins using several layers of paper towels. Slice beets into 1/2-inch thick wedges; if large, then cut in half crosswise.

Meanwhile, whisk oil, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Ass sliced beets to dressing, toss to coat and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Add arugula and oranges and gently toss to coat greens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese shavings and almonds and serve.

 

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Christy permalink
    March 27, 2012

    I know you said he isn’t a big beet fan, but this beet salad recipe is still awesome.

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