Roast beet salad with caramelized walnuts
Have on hand
3 bunches small, or 2 bunches medium beets (red, golden, or striped ). Save the greens!
5 stems fresh thyme, leaves pulled off
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
Water, as needed
Blue cheese, crumbled, as needed
4 cups baby spinach, arugula, and/or frisse
1 crisp apple, cored, and diced, optional
1/4 cup, flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves, torn with your hands, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 350F
In an oven-safe roasting container, combine the beets, fresh thyme, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of Kosher salt, and just enough water to just coat the bottom, 1/3 cup. Cover tightly with foil, and roast until the beets are pierced with the tines of a fork, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size. Allow to cool until you can safely handle the beets. Use gloves unless you don’t mind stained hands, or, using a cloth that you don’t mind getting stained, hold the beet in the cloth while rubbing the skin off. The skin should come right off. Repeat with the remaining beets.
In a medium bowl, combine the greens, plus the beets, apples, and parsley. Dress the salad lightly with the vinaigrette, just to coat. Season to taste. Plate the salad, topped with the cheese, and candied walnuts.
Candied Spiced Walnuts
1 1/4 cups walnuts, or pecans
1 tablespoon grape seed, or extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne powder
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
A few good twists of black pepper
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Place a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat, until hot, 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus the nuts, and cook approximately two minutes, stirring every thirty seconds to cook evenly. Working quickly, add the spices, a pinch of salt, plus a few grinds of pepper, then stir to coat. Cook 30 seconds, stirring after 15. Being careful, as the syrup will bubble up a bit, add the maple syrup, and stir to coat. Allow to cook, while stirring occasionally, for two more minutes. Keep an eye on the nuts. If they begin to smoke, turn down a heat a touch, and stir more often. After two minutes, transfer the nuts to a sheet pan either sprayed with non-stick spray, a light coating of olive oil, or lined with parchment paper. Working quickly, using two forks, separate the individual nuts, then allow to cool completely. Careful. They will be very hot.
1 shallot, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or, 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, add the shallot, plus the red wine vinegar. Then, whisking continuously, stream in the olive oil. Season to taste.
Sauteed beet greens
3 cups greens from beets, thick stems discarded, leaves washed, dried, and rough chopped
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, as needed
2 tablespoons shallot, small dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons extra-Virgin Olive Oil and heat until shimmering. Add beet greens plus shallot, and toss to coat. Season lightly with salt, and few good twists of pepper, and toss to coat. Cook until beginning to wilt. Add red wine vinegar, and stir/toss to combine. Remove from heat, and serve