Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Cilantro and Pickled Onions

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This isn’t a hard recipe but it takes a fair amount of time, what with rosting the beets and all. But it’s worth it.

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(Sorry about the presentation… I took it to a friend’s house for supper Saturday and we served it out of the takeout container.)

First, roast your beets. Put them in tin foil with a sprig of thyme —

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— and a pinch of salt:

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Drizzle in some olive oil and wrap up your little tin foil packet:

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Put those babies in a foil-lined roasting pan for about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on their size. Meanwhile, set a kettle of water to boil and chop an onion into rings:

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Get out some red wine vinegar (this is my own homemade!):

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And whatever spices you feel like flavoring the onions with:

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Put 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup room temp water and 1 to 2 teaspoons each: fennel seed, juniper berries, peppercorns, chili powder, lemon peel in a bowl. Mix it all up.

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When the water comes to a boil, pour it over the onions and let them sit for at least 20 minutes. Then drain and add them to the bowl with the vinegar mixture. Let them pickle for at least an hour and up to 4.

When your beets are done, put on some kitchen gloves and rub their skins off. If they are really cooked all the way through this should be easy. Cut the beets into quarters and place them in a bowl.

Drain and roughly chop your pickled onions. Add them to the beets. Season with salt, pepper and some olive oil and toss.

Just before serving, add about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and toss lightly. Cut medallions of goat cheese and place on top. Drizzle the cheese with a little more olive oil and serve.

Here’s the recipe all in one place:

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Pickled Onions and Cilantro

6 to 8 beets, depending on size
16 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup room temp water
1 to 2 teaspoons each: fennel seed, juniper berries, peppercorns, chili powder, lemon peel or any spices you choose
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
8 ounces goat cheese, chopped into 1/2-inch wide medallions

Preheat oven to 350. Line a roasting pan with foil. Cut as many 8-inch squares of tin foil as you have beets. Place 2 sprigs of thyme in each and set a beet on top. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil and wrap the beet in foil.

Place all the wrapped beets on the foil-lined roasting pan and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, set a kettle of water to boil and chop an onion into rings.

Combine the vinegar, room temp water and fennel seed, juniper berries, peppercorns, chili powder, lemon peel in a bowl.

When the water comes to a boil, pour it over the onions and let them sit for at least 20 minutes. Then drain and add them to the bowl with the vinegar mixture. Let them pickle for at least an hour and up to 4.

When your beets are done, put on some kitchen gloves and rub their skins off. If they are really cooked all the way through this should be easy. Cut the beets into quarters and place them in a bowl.

Drain and roughly chop your pickled onions. Add them to the beets. Season with salt, pepper and some olive oil and toss.

Just before serving, add about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and toss lightly. Cut medallions of goat cheese and place on top. Drizzle the cheese with a little more olive oil and serve.

Serves 4.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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