After yesterday’s foreboding clouds & heavy air, the rain finally came. This morning the leaves are weighed down with a graceful heaviness, small streams are flowing down the street, & the dry earth has released a sigh of relief. The world is quiet; the summer bustle of car motors & the cackling of gulls have been replaced by the pattering of the rain & low rumbles of thunder. It is a glorious morning for penning thoughts, thinking about food, & perhaps reading a little Jane Austen, since this dreary weather feels distinctly British.
As I continue to enjoy the many treasures unearthed from my father’s vegetable garden, I share with you a simple salad that exalts the sweetness & earthiness of the dish’s main ingredients: beets. I have done a few other beet salads, like beet & avocado salad or beet & quinoa salad, but this one really lets the beets be the star of the show. You can make the beets ahead of time, store them in the refrigerator & then this quick assembling salad would make for a great lunch. Or, you can serve this alongside a roast or even grilled pork shoulder.
More happy birthday wishes, this time to my brother Luke. Cheers to an exciting new year!
Beet Salad with Pine Nuts & Blue Castello
serves 4 as a side
For perfectly cooked beets:
4 medium sized beets
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Wash beets & trim the tops off. Cut into quarters & put in a bowl. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, season with a big pinch of sea salt & cracked pepper. Toss the beets to coat them & pour them into a parchment cooking bag or make a pouch with tinfoil. Make sure it is sealed & place on a baking sheet.
- Pop into the oven for about 1 hour & 15 minutes. Test one of the beets with a fork, they should be tender, but still have shape. Once the beets are sealed in the parchment to steam, it is pretty hard to overcook them though.
For the salad:
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled (I used Blue Castello which is a Danish blue)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 TBL pine nuts
the juice of 1 lemon
extra-virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt & cracked black pepper
- Once the beets have cooled, you can easily peel the beets by gently rubbing them in a paper towel. Then diced them into bit sized pieces.
In a bowl, toss the beets, lemon juice, & a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil together. Place the beets in a serving dish or bowl. Scatter with cheese, basil leaves, pine nuts, & season to taste.