As a child I hated beets, as my younger kids do today. Thankfully I grew out of that phase and I now love to work with them. Beets are plentiful this time of year and because of the food craze they are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
A good portion of the world’s refined sugar is made from beets and their sweetness cannot be denied. When I owned my restaurant in Seattle one of the most requested recipes was a pudding I made with roasted beets. The pudding was rich, creamy and brilliant red in color and I served it along with other seasonal vegetables almost year round, because customers complained whenever I substituted it with anything else.
The roasted beet salad below is one of those ridiculously simple recipes that people love this time of year, because it of its elegance and farm fresh flavor profile. This kind of thing is great to serve in a restaurant application because it is both cost effective and very versatile as a format for creative presentation.
With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Assorted Red & Yellow Beets 16 each, 4 to 5 ounces in size, cleaned and trimmed of stems
Pomace Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon (for roasting)
Red Wood Hills Goats Cheese 4 ounces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 6 Tablespoons
Shallots 1 each (fine dice)
Fresh Thyme 8 sprigs
Sherry Vinegar (good quality) 2 Tablespoons
Course Sea Salt to taste
Pre-Heat oven to 400, pour pomace oil into center of small roasting pan or half sized sheet pan, toss beets into pan and rub oil evenly on beets to evenly coat. Layer beets evenly to fit pan and roast for 15 minutes or so, then shake pan and roast for 15 minutes more. Beets are done when knife inserted to flesh goes in easily. Cook longer if need be, when done remove from oven and allow for cooling, until easy to touch. Peel and clean beets completely, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make vinaigrette, place salt and sherry vinegar in small stainless steel bowl and whisk until salt in fully incorporated, add shallots, then whisk in olive oil in a slow steady stream in order to achieve emulsification, reserve until ready to use.
When ready to serve slice beets along the diameter about ¼ thick and arrange on individual or serving platter in attractive pattern that highlights the yellow and red colors. Next crumble goat’s cheese over the top and drizzle with sherry vinaigrette, fresh thyme and course salt to taste.
Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish or small appetizer