Sunday, July 13, 2008

Heritage Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

We all agreed that the best part of our meal last evening was the beet salad that I made from the organic heirloom beets and tender Swiss chard that I brought home from the farmer's market earlier in the day.

I was disappointed that I couldn't get my goat cheese from Bosky Acres goat dairy, but Bill Makuch said he'd heard that the recent afternoon thunderstorms had knocked out their power and they lost much of their cheese.

Make sure you serve this salad at room temp. You will love the way the tangy, salty goat cheese contrasts with the sweetness of the beets, and the minced shallots provide just the right amount of crunch and bite. We liked lots of coarsely ground black pepper on this salad.

Heirloom Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
Serves 4

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, July 2008

1 1/2 lbs. small to medium size beets (mixed colors make a pretty salad)
12 cups combined beet greens and Swiss chard
2 T. white wine vinegar
2 T. minced shallot
2 tsps. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. Canola oil or olive oil blend
Salt and pepper
2 oz. or more goat cheese, crumbled (place in freezer for 20-30 minutes for easier crumbling)

Make beets: Heat oven to 400˚. Trim beet stems to 2 inches; wash beets and place on heavy duty foil. Bring sides together and crimp to form packet. Place on baking sheet in oven and roast for about 1 hour or until tender. Remove from packet and allow to cool to room temperature. Trim ends and peel or rub skin from beets. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces and combine in a bowl. Toss to distribute different colored beets together.

Make greens: While beets are roasting, pull chard and beet green leaves from thick stems and discard stems. Wash leaves thoroughly in several changes of fresh water until clean and drain in colander. Pack into microwavable bowl, cover with plastic wrap and vent by poking holes in surface with a fork. I use the Pampered Chef large micro-cooker. Place in microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes (1000 watts) until greens are wilted. (Water clinging to leaves from washing is sufficient for steaming in microwave.) Remove from bowl and spread on plate to cool to room temperature. On cutting board, roughly chop cooked greens.

Make vinaigrette: Combine vinegar, shallot, mustard, a good pinch of salt and sprinkling of pepper in small bowl. Pour oil into vinegar mixture in a steady stream, whisking briskly until thick and incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Make ahead: You can make these salad components ahead to this point and refrigerate them. Return to room temperature before serving.

Compose: Distribute chopped greens evenly between 4 salad plates. Top with beets and crumble a generous quantity of crumbled goat cheese over top of each. Spoon vinaigrette over each salad, top with a coarse grind of black pepper and serve.

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