By Allison Davis, Chef & Owner of Wild Thyme
It’s not quite spring but it’s not quite winter either. I call it the in-between season. Hopefully we are finished with “Snowmageddon 2014” for good! Kentucky sure had her share of winter this year! March is the perfect time to start planting in your garden but the early spring cold crops are still several weeks away. With that being said we can still enjoy cooking with hearty root vegetables like beets, sweet potatoes, and rutabagas. Mix them with a spring cold crop like Arugula or Asparagus and you will have an early spring/late winter dish worth savoring. In this roasted beet salad with dressed arugula, blue cheese crumbles, toasted macadamia nuts, and granny smith apples your taste buds will be ignited with flavor and hungry for more fresh local spring salads to come.
Roasted Beet Salad with Macadamia, Blue Cheese, Granny Smith, & Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette
For the Beets
• 1 bunch medium beets (about 3)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Salt and Pepper
For the Salad
• 10 ounces mixed greens or arugula
• 3 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese crumbles
• ½ cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
• 1 granny smith apples, cored and sliced
For the Vinaigrette
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1½ tablespoons yellow mustard
• 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
• 1½ tablespoons minced shallots
• 1½ tablespoons minced garlic
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
• 6 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
For the beets:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Wipe or scrub beets clean then trim stems down to one-inch (leave “tails” on). Place beets on a large piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil, then wrap foil around them to form a neat packet. Roast directly on rack in middle of oven until tender, about 1 hour. Test for doneness by piercing the largest beet with a knife. If it enters easily, it’s done. Unwrap beets and let sit until cool enough to handle. Use your hands (plastic gloves are handy) or a paring knife to peel skin, then cut into ½-inch dice or slice into rounds horizontally and set aside.
While the beets are cooking, prepare the remaining salad toppings. In a medium sauté pan toast the chopped macadamia nuts until golden brown or place on a baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes.
For the vinaigrette:
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard, wine vinegar, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. (Alternatively, add all your ingredients to a jar, cover with lid, and shake vigorously to blend.) Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
For the salad:
Place the greens in a large bowl, drizzle with about half of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add as much of the remaining vinaigrette as desired and toss again. Divide greens onto plates, then sprinkle with beets, nuts, green apple slices, and cheese. (The reason you don’t just mix it all together in a salad bowl is that the beets would cause the whole salad to turn pink.) Serve immediately.
For more information about cooking classes, recipes, or culinary events visit wildthymecooking.com or contact Chef Allison at 859.523.COOK (2665)