As you likely noticed, spring is taking its sweet time arriving this year. Personally, I will never complain about a couple rogue snow days creeping into March, because there are few things I love more than an excuse to spend a day trapped on my couch when the weather is wily.
Another benefit to prolonged winter here in the northeast is a lingering of our cold season produce on menus and on our minds. I don’t care what anyone says, there is a lot to love about New England in winter. Especially the beets.
On looks alone, beets could be considered heartthrobs. But it’s not only what is on the outside that counts you guys. On the inside these sweet, tender gems are every bit as wonderful as their appearance makes them seem. Like candy of the earth. If vegetables had a yearbook, beets would win a superlative. Not sure which one, but they would win one.
So for all our collective whining that spring has yet to grace us with its presence, while we anxiously await its warmer temperatures and abundant allergies, I think we are missing out on the chance to tuck into the hearty bits of winter that are lingering about. So treat yourself to some earth candy while you wait for the green hues of spring to arrive.
Ultimate Beet Salad
6 medium sized, varied varietal beets (I used classic, golden, and chioggia)
½ cup roasted & salted pistachio meats
1 8oz log of chevre goat cheese
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 teaspoons of fresh lemon zest
Juice of half a lemon
2 cups of arugula
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil & balsamic vinegar (for serving)
- Roast the beets. Scrub them to ensure they are free of dirt, then individually wrap each beet in tin foil with a little olive oil. Set individually wrapped beets on a baking sheet, and roast at 375° for 45 minutes to an hour. When a sharp knife can easily slip into the center of each beet, you’ll know they are done. Let cool and then slice into quarter inch thick rounds. (Best to do this bit in gloves, and also make sure to cut the lighter colored varieties first so they don’t bleed together).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, poppy seeds, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper (I used a hand mixer to get it nice and fluffy, but you could just mix with a wooden spoon). Let chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- On a large platter, lay out the arugula as a base. Arrange the room temperature beet slices atop the greens, then dollop the goat cheese mixture around the top. Sprinkle the pistachios over the stop. Finish with a sprinkle of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar just before serving.