Many moons ago when I was a baby my parents fed me beets, the photo lives on in infamy...really it's haunted me for years at many a family gathering.
So I ask how does one overcome such humiliation at such a young age? Beet 'em of course! Ok so that was pretty bad beet humor but oh well. In my zeal for local produce I've found that beets are ever-present this time of year at our farmers markets, not quite up to the challenge yet I ignored them last year and then early this year I tasted an amazing golden beet salad at Whole Foods, that was it, the hunt was on! I have taken to oven roasted beets with a variety of different oils/vinegars/spices atop them. One of my favorites is a salad similar to the golden beet salad I loved at Whole Foods...
Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Sage
3 Medium Golden Beets, diced (approx. 1 inch cubes)
1/2 Cup Sage, sliced in a chiffonade
3 oz Goat Cheese
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. Toss beets with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
3. Place beets in 13x9 oven dish and roast beets until tender, approximately 30-45 minutes.
4. Remove beets from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
5.Chop up goat cheese (or crumble) as best you can. Place beets in a large bowl, top with sage and goat cheese, drizzle with vinegar.
While I adore this salad and have made a handful of variations on it, including adding blanched green beans, roasting the beets with various vinegars in the mix, using smoked salts, etc. I definitely tired of it. I started investigating the other ways to eat beets...(hear the sound of crickets??) there aren't many, at least not that I found appetizing. So I came back to the fact that I really like them roasted but needed something else.
Another variation on this included Chioggia, Golden and Red Beets, it's beautiful while it's being roasted (and then eaten!). I also swapped out basil for the sage.
Because I really liked the way the beets were off-set by the flavor of the goat cheese I decided to serve roasted beets alongside a goat cheese risotto.
Basil, Speck and Goat Cheese Risotto
2 tbsp olive oil
4 small shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio Rice
1/2 cup dry White Wine
2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Goat Cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup diced Speck
Spice Globe Basil, thinly sliced (chiffonade)as garnish
1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
2. Saute shallot until soft. Add the garlic and saute for another minute more.
3. Add the Arborio rice to the skillet, making sure to stir it around in the olive oil so that each granule is coated, and toast it for about 2 minutes.
4. Next add the white wine and stir the rice. Wait until all the wine has been absorbed and then start adding the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time, making sure not to add more until the previous addition has been absorbed.
5. Once the rice is just tender, add the Goat cheese and let it melt in, mix well. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the Spice Globe Basil and Speck.
It's funny, sometimes the things you think you hate the most come back as favorites.
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