We’ve finally hit springtime in northern Michigan. The trees are blooming, my perennials are returning…and we have a chance of snow flurries tomorrow…yep, it’s spring 😉
I love how in the springtime, there’s new seasonal foods to add to your diet & cooking rotation, to really change things up a bit. Our CSA starts in about a month from now (yay!!!!) and I’m looking forward to that weekly box of farm fresh produce. Until then, I’m left to checking out the local grocery stores – our local organic food store does a great job of marketing local farms’ lettuces, carrots, and other vegetables that they’ve grown in their greenhouses.
Now that it’s spring, vegetables are starting to taste better and I’m feeling a bit more adventurous. Salads are a quick and easy solution for dinnertime when you don’t feel like firing up your crockpot.This salad that I’m writing about today is, in a nutshell – EASY – using a few simple ingredients that you can find pretty much anywhere right now.
I chose this recipe from the book The Cook & The Gardener by Amanda Hesser. It’s a cookbook as well as a documentary about spending a year in France. I absolutely adored it and plan on re-reading it this summer. I highly suggest that you check this book out – it’s got so many great ideas about using seasonal ingredients, and emphasizes that delicious food doesn’t have to be complicated.
Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad – adapted from The Cook & The Gardener
- 2 large beets, trimmed
- 1 tsp olive oil
- kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
- 4 large handfuls of lettuce – I used a mesclun mix
- 4 oz soft goat cheese
- 1 1/2 tbsp thinly sliced chives
- For the dressing:
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp best-quality olive oil (trust me, it makes a difference!)
- kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- Heat the oven to 400*.
- In a roasting pan, toss the beets with olive oil and a pinch of slat. Roast in the heated oven until the beets are tender; about 1 hour or so. Remove from the oven & let cool.
- Once the beets are cool, put on some latex or rubber gloves – or else your hands will stain from the beet juice. Peel the beets under cool running water and cut each beet in half through the root. Slice into wedges, and set aside.
- Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Then, in a small bowl, whisk the mustard, salt & pepper, and vinegar. Pour in the olive oil in a slow stream, and whisk quickly so that it emulsifies & creates a thicker dressing. Taste, then add more of the ingredients if you so desire.
- In another seperate, small bowl, crumble the goat cheese into small pieces. Season to taste with pepper. Add the chives and mix together until well-blended.
- Pour the dressing over the lettuce and toss to goat. Add the beets & cheese to the bowl, and serve – you can either mix it all around, or just place them on top.
This salad tastes very light and fresh. I’m in the process of experimenting with making my own salad dressings and this is a great recipe to get your feet wet, so to speak. My husband was very impressed with this salad also and was surprised by how much he liked it, too.
Beets tend to get a bad reputation and I’m not sure why. They’re actually pretty good! The only way I had really eaten them before this recipe was either pickled, or out of a can with catalina dressing (that’s how I ate them as a kid…I dunno, it was good). I think that this is my new favorite way to eat them – you can be sure that this recipe will come back once they’re back in my CSA box.