Roasted Beet Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

Beet Salad111I’ve found some beautiful beets at the farmers’ market lately.

Not everyone is on the beet bandwagon, however. From what I read, President Obama and Michelle Obama aren’t beet fans. They requested that beets not be included among the vegetables grown in their beautiful organic garden.

Historically, though, beets have quite a following. Thomas Jefferson had them planted at Monticello. Women in the 19th Century used beet juice as a cosmetic to stain their lips and cheeks.  Elizabethans enjoyed them in stews and tarts. The Romans and Greeks went so far as to develop strategies to grow them year round, believing that beets enhance one’s health and, as a bonus, have an aphrodisiac effect. In mythology, that hottie Aphrodite ate beets to enhance her appeal.

I make a pretty good beet and cabbage borscht and enjoy pickled beets, but I’ve decided to try some new beet recipes.  This recipe from the Williams-Sonoma’s  Vegetable Recipe of the Day Cookbook caught my eye.

What’s not to like, after all, about beets, vinaigrette and goat cheese?

And, who knows, maybe Aphrodite was right.

Here is the recipe.

Recipe: Roasted Beets with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

4 beets
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Grated zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 C. white wine vinegar
1 1/2 t. fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 T. fresh mint, julienned
1/2 t. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
1 t. fresh chervil leaves

Directions:

Wash beets. Trim off greens. Put beets on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle beets with 1 T. olive oil. Gather up edges of foil around beets to seal in a foil package and place package on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F. for one hour or until beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Remove packet from oven, unwrap and cool.

Prepare vinaigrette. Grate lemon rind. Juice 1/2 lemon. Put zest and juice into a small bowl and whisk with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Peel cooled beets and slice into 1/8 inch slices. Arrange beet slices on a platter. Sprinkle goat cheese over the beets. Drizzle with lemon-thyme vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle mint, tarragon and chervil over salad and serve at room temperature.

Cook’s Note: This recipe makes more vinaigrette than you will need to dress your beet salad. I suggest that you marinate any beet slices that you don’t use in your salad in the extra vinaigrette.

The original recipe suggested using a variety of colored beets–red, golden, etc.

I garnished my salad with chopped walnuts. I like the texture that walnuts add to a salad.

Don’t forget to eat the beet greens. They are wonderful.


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