Goat cheese and beets make a spectacular combination!………………..
Not only is this pairing visually appealing, but the flavors meld beautifully. I have made a variety of goat cheese and beet salads in the past, but this is a fun new twist with the goat cheese warm and slightly gooey atop golden toasted bread.
This salad makes a delicious lunch or first course, but I love to pair it with grilled chicken, pork tenderloin or even shrimp for a complete meal. Since this recipe uses a bit of walnut oil, the sweet, caramelized walnuts add a wonderful finishing touch, but feel free to use whatever nuts
you have available.
Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
8 small or 4 medium beets, can use a mixture of red and yellow, if available
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 French-style baguette
½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
8 ounces arugula, or other favorite greens
carmelized walnuts, see recipe below
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the beet greens, if attached, leaving 1 inch of stem to avoid piercing the skin. Put the beets in a baking dish (use separate dishes for red and golden beets as red beets “bleed”). Add ¼ inch of water, cover, and bake until the beets are tender when pierced, 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size. Add more water if the beets threaten to cook dry. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into wedges. (Can be done a day or two ahead and refrigerated, bring to room temperature before adding to salad.)
2. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the walnut oil, sherry vinegar, honey, shallot, and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the shallot flavor to mellow. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
3. Preheat the oven to 350. With a serrated knife, slice the baguette on a sharp diagonal to make 4 dramatic slices about 7 inches long and ¼ inch thick. (You will have leftover bread.) Using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, brush the slices lightly on both sides. Put on a baking sheet and bake until light golden.
Remove from oven and divide goat cheese on top of the toasts. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Return to oven while preparing salads, for about 10 minutes.
4. While the cheese toasts bake, toss the salad greens with enough of the dressing to coat lightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and arrange on 4 plates. Toss the beets with some of the dressing and season with salt. (Toss red and golden beets separately.) Scatter the beets over the greens. Divide the warm cheese among the 4 toasts, spreading it evenly. Garnish each salad with a cheese-topped toast.
5. Remove from oven and divide goat cheese on top of the toasts. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Return to oven while preparing salads, for about 10 minutes.
6. Toss the salad greens with enough of the dressing to coat them lightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and arrange on 4 plates. Toss the beets with some of the dressing and season with salt. (Toss red and golden beets separately, if using both.) Scatter the beets over the greens. Garnish each salad with a warm bruschetta. Enjoy!
For the Caramelized Walnuts
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon sugar
1. In a small saute pan, over medium-low heat, combine sugar and walnuts. As sugar begins to melt, use wooden spoon to ensure all walnuts are coated with the sugar.
2. Cook until sugar has fully melted and walnuts are golden brown. Remove from heat; immediately transfer caramelized walnuts to parchment paper or other nonstick surface to cool. (Can be made several days ahead.)