Thursday, February 21, 2013

Roasted Beet, Apple, and Blue Cheese Salad

This recipe, the last in my brief love affair with CSA beets this winter, may well be my favorite creation with that oft-forgotten root. I've certainly had my share of salads with pecans, blue cheese, and apples, but the tiny jewels of roasted beet take it to a whole new level. Where raw apples are light and crunchy with just a hint of tartness, roasted beets balance with a complex and tender sweetness, holding their own against sharp red onion, pungent blue cheese, and rich and toasty pecans. It has to be the most wintery of all the salads I've made, the roasted beet gems imbuing the salad with a depth of flavor perfectly at home in this blustery season. Whether you have to roast a fresh batch of beets for this salad, or just use up some leftovers, this salad is a perfect showcase for one of the finest vegetables the root cellar has to offer.

Roasted Beet, Apple, and Blue Cheese Salad
serves 1 (as a main dish)

2 ounces lettuce, mixed greens, or spinach (about 2 cups)
4 ounces beets, peeled and cut into small dice (a few small beets or 1/2 medium to large beet)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 0.5 ounce)
Half of a small apple, cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons/0.5 ounce crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons/0.5 ounce toasted chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Toss beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper and arrange in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast until beets are tender and caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.

2. Arrange greens on a large plate, and top with onion, beets, apples, cheese, and nuts. Drizzle with dressing of choice and enjoy!

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