For the first week of Symon Sundays, a blogging/cooking group I created to cook through Chef Symon's Live to Cook, I decided to pick two recipes to pair together as a meal. The first thing I saw in the cookbook that caught my eye was this beet salad.
I absolutely love beets, especially with nuts and in the form of a salad. The photo in the cookbook makes it look absolutely delicious, tender beets with sharp blue cheese and toasted walnuts. Chef Symon claims he likes to make dishes that showcase ingredients that people might not have liked as children with the hope to convert them. That was my idea and hope with making this meal, to convert JJ to the beet-loving side.
It wasn't hard to do, as we're big fans of The Office, and Dwight often talks about his beet farm. JJ also was excited to provide latex gloves for me when I asked him if he had anything in his Athletic Training pack that would keep my hands from being stained purple.
I was hoping I would be able to find all of the components to this dish, as golden beets and maytag blue cheese aren't as readily available... but Whole Foods delivered, and I found them there. The only ingredient I did not find was the watercress. I used a bed of romaine, but would have opted for Arugula if JJ didn't object.
This salad was all I hoped it would be, and so much more. The vinaigrette was simple, the beets were the star, and when I got a forkful containing every element of the salad, it was phenominal.
Slow-Roasted Beets with Buttermilk Blue Cheese,
Watercress and Toasted Walnuts
Live to Cook, Michael Symon pg. 74
1/2 cup walnut pieces
3 medium golden beets
3 medium red beets
1 head of garlic, halved through the equator
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Fresh ground black pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 c. EVOO
1 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
4 oz. Maytag blue cheese, crumbled (1 c.)
1 cup loosely packed watercress
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spread walnuts on a baking sheet, sprinke with salt and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, cool.
Lower oven temperature to 325.
In a shallow baking dish, place the beets, garlic and thyme.
Season with salt and pepper, fill with water to reach 1/4" up the side of the pan.
Cover with foil, roast until beets are tender, about an hour.
Remove foil, cool.
Peel beets, cut into wedges.
In a large bowl, combine shallot, garlic, a pinch of salt, orange zest, juice, honey and vinegar.
Whisk, taste for seasonings.
Whisk in EVOO, add beets, toss to coat.
Divide beets among 4 places, top with toasted walnuts, crumbled blue cheese and watercress.
Drizzle with additional vinaigrette from the bowl, finish with ground black pepper.