Even though the weather around here has been absolutely atrocious this week, I had planned Valentine’s Day dinner late last week, of the ingredients I needed last week or early in the week and I was completely prepared to make everything. I even put extra hours of work in so I could be sure I had enough time to cook everything and spent the better part of the afternoon preparing everything. We had a nice, elegant meal for the three of us, something we do not do too often and it tasted great and was fun. I’ll be sharing the recipes I made over the next several days, so we may as well start off with the salad. The original thought for the recipe comes from Williams-Sonoma, but I actually ended up changing quite a bit of it because Michelle is not a big fan of a couple of the ingredients, so I did switch some things around for this roasted beet salad. I’ll give you the original recipe and then let you know what I did to change it around.
Roasted Beet Salad
3 golden beets, trimmed and washed
6 red beets, trimmed and washed
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons minced shallots
4 cups baby watercress
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the golden and red beets on a baking sheet. Coat the beets with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season them well with the kosher salt and black pepper. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and roast until the beets are fork tender, about 1 hour. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut them into 1-inch wedges.
Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, creme fraiche, the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil, the dill and the shallots in the blended or food processor. Blend or emulsify the ingredients until they are well mixed and season the vinaigrette with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the beet wedges in a layer on a platter and top them with the watercress. Garnish with the goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve.
Okay, looking back at this I made quite a few changes to the recipe. First, I could only find red beets in my area so that is what I used. I would have loved to have the golden ones too, but it just wasn’t happening this time. Next, I omitted the goat cheese and the toasted walnuts. Michelle doesn’t like either one of them so they both went out. I also couldn’t locate any creme fraiche in the area so I had to make my own using equal parts of sour cream and heavy cream and mixing them together. It turned out just fine and was perfect to use. Finally, I hated to waste the beet greens so I decided to use them in the salad with the watercress. One thing to not about beet greens – they are very dirty and need extensive washing and spinning in the salad spinner if you have one. Also, they can be quite bitter when they are raw so if you don’t like the bitter flavor you can try blanching them or even wilting them a little in a saute pan for a few minutes. They are too tasty to waste though and make a nice addition to the meal if you can use them. We all loved the beets and always forget how great roasted beets can taste. I really need to buy them more often to make them. I really enjoyed the dressing as well with the shallots and dill adding some great flavor and I can see how the goat cheese and walnuts would add a lot to this salad. It was good as we had it, but the additions would make it even better. The picture I took does not have the dressing on it yet and you can really only see the beets and beet greens so it doesn’t do it justice.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for the next part of the dinner menu. I’ll be going over the two sides we had with the meal – sautéed spinach with garlic and garlic-thyme smashed potatoes. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!