Monday, September 3, 2012

Golden Chioggia Beet Salad

There are nineteen days of summer left--almost three weeks.  It is a fact.  I know this.  Every year I tell myself to not rush autumn.  Savor the waning days of summer, I say.  It's almost impossible when all around me, there is a push to hurry the days along until the holiday season.  There are already ads out to reserve a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving.  The stores are ablaze in autumnal colors.  Soon carols and gaily colored decorations will greet us as we shop.

That said, I just couldn't resist these autumn-colored chioggia beets at Saturday's market.  I asked my favorite farmer to grow them for the market and she obliged a few years ago.  Chioggias are heirloom beets.  The red-stripped "candy canes" are the most popular but I love these yellow and orange ones.  Don't let their delicate color fool you.  They stand up to their bolder looking cousins, the reds, quite nicely.  I have found that roasting them maintains their "stripe".  When simmered in water, the colors tend to run together and the stripe is not well defined.

Here's the beet salad I did for our Sunday lunch.  I hope you'll give it a try.

Roasted Chioggia Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

1 pound of chioggia beets washed
Canola Oil

1.  Lightly oil the beets and wrap in foil.  If your beets aren't uniform in size, wrap the larger ones separately and put them in the oven first for a longer roasting.
2.  Heat the oven to 375 and roast the beets for 50 to 60 minutes, testing for doneness after about 45 minutes.
3.  Peel, slice and refrigerate until ready to put the salad together.

Mapled Walnuts

1 cup walnut halves
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, toast the walnuts for about five minutes watching closely.
2.  Pour in the maple syrup, turn off the heat and toss the nuts about.
3.  Separate the nuts out on a piece of waxed paper and cool.

When ready to serve, plate some salad greens and top with the sliced beets, the mapled walnuts and some feta or bleu cheese crumbles.  Drizzle with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.