We love this beet salad as a light but flavorful addition to any meal. It can work well in the winter or summer and can be a nice change if you are tired of figuring out ways to use summer tomatoes in everything. The key is really cooking the beets in water that has been spiked with vinegar, this gives some of that pickled beet flavor you might like in a greek salad but without being too syrupy. We make this recipe with either Pedro Ximenez Sherry Vinegar or White Balsamic with Mustard Seeds from Acetomodena. If you are short on the high end vinegars, you can boil the beets with less expensive cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or even white vinegar to give them a bit of brightness without burning through all the good stuff, save it for the dressing. Though if money is no object, by all means, dose the water with the vinegar of your choice. If you want the salad to be a bit sweeter or your beets are lackluster, there is no shame in adding a tablespoon of sugar to the water.
- 3-4 Red Beets
- 3-4 Golden Beets
- 1 medium shallot
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup vinegar (¼ cup for boiling the beets and the remainder for the dressing). White balsamic with mustard seeds lends a good slightly mustardy flavor while the Pedro Ximenez makes a more assertive Spanish dish.
- ¼ cup good olive oil
- 1 container (4 oz) Idyll Pastures fresh goat cheese (The fennel pollen is especially good)
- Bunch of fresh oregano, parsley and thyme
- Optional - Mint, basil, Marjoram
- Optional - Mustard seeds, fennel seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring 2 quarts of water to boils. Salt water like you would for pasta (salty like the sea but not like jerky)
- Add ¼ cup of the vinegar to the boiling water, a couple cloves or garlic and a few sprigs of oregano. (add optional mustard seeds or fennel to boiling water here if you want to amplify these flavors)
- Peel Beets and cut into eighths
- First, boil the golden beets until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove with strainer or slotted spoon, set aside and repeat with the red beets. (If you want to speed this process up, you can use two pots or just one color of beets, but I love how the golden beets look when tossed with the red ones. It makes a beautiful salad. If you boil the red beets first or do them all at the same time, the dish will still taste great, but everything will be the same color)
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the cooked beets with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and taste. Adjust the oil, vinegar and salt ratios as needed.
- Plate in a bowl or on a platter and top with spoonfuls of the goat cheese. For a twist, you could omit the goat cheese and top the salad with tuna or sardines, I would do either cheese or fish, not both.
- Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and serve.