Thursday, June 6, 2013

Baby Romaine Salad with Roasted Beets

This simple salad has recently become one of my favorites. It is easy and delicious, especially if you, like me, are a beets lover. Although still light it is more substantial than just lettuce. I have already tasted it during my first BBQ of this season and everyone loved it asking for details on how to prepare it.

It is hard to say where the secret of this salad lays as the whole blend of ingredients makes it taste so special.

Roasted beets, which add special sweetness to it, are for sure very important to its taste. I do not cook beets anymore except soups, as they lose some nutrients and much of their natural juice in the water. Most often I roast them wrapped in aluminium foil.

But recently I bought fresh baby beets at my local market and roasted them, as I do with baby potatoes, cut in pieces and rubbed with oil. I did not even have to peel them, only the bigger ones, then cut in small quarters. I do not salt them before roasting as they tend to lose their juice then. Roasting beets directly on a baking sheet is faster than in foil, and they also get slightly crispy this way.

To make this salad I layered baby Romaine leaves, covered them with roasted beets, drizzled with dressing, and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and crumbled goat cheese.

I do not know what I am going to discover next week, but if you ask me right now, there is no better salad than this for lunch, with a piece of bread and prosciutto, or grilled meat for dinner.

Baby Romaine Salad with Roasted Beets

4 oz baby Romaine leaves,
6-8 baby beets, or 4 young medium beets,
1/3 cup (about 3oz) fresh goat cheese,
1/4 cup roasted and crushed hazelnuts,
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar,
2 tbsp lemon juice,
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. If using baby beets, just cut the green parts out and cut the beets into small quarters. Bigger beets you need to peel off using a vegetable peeler, cut them in half and then into half moons, half-inch thick.

Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with a tbsp of olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tender and slightly roasted on top. Remove them from the oven, sprinkle with sea salt and let them cool.
3. To make the dressing, mix olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.
4. Spread baby Romaine on a shallow serving plate. Put roasted beets on top and drizzle with dressing.
5. Scatter crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts on top. Let it infuse for 10 minutes and serve.