If you’re doing a little entertaining this summer, skip the ubiquitous pasta or potato salad and treat your guests to this colorful beet salad from chef Jeff Howe. The earthiness from the beets, citrusy sweetness from the oranges, crunch from the pistachios and richness from the goat cheese combine for a summery side that’s as balanced as it is delicious. The recipe below will feed a big group but it’s easily halved or quartered.
- 1 bunch baby red beets
- 1 bunch baby yellow beets
- 1 bunch candy striped beets
- 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
- 4 oranges
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/2 pound goat cheese
- heavy cream (if needed)
- salt & pepper
- micro greens or fresh herbs for garnish
- rosemary grissini or toast points
- To cook the beets, cut the tops off if they were still on and wash. Place in 3 different pots and cover with cold water. Divide the vinegar evenly between the 3 pots. Place a half of an orange into each pot and add salt. Let simmer for about an hour, checking with a skewer to make sure the center of the beets are cooked. Remove beets from the water and cool to room temperature. With a cloth, gently rub the skin off the beets, doing the red beets last. Place in the refrigerator until needed.
- For the vinaigrette, zest and juice 1 orange and mix with the EVOO. Salt and pepper to your liking.
- Place the goat cheese in a mixer with a whip attachment. Add a touch of heavy cream and salt and mix. The cream is to thin it out a little, just so it’s not lumpy or crumbly. Depending on the cheese, you may not even need it.
- Take your remaining orange and remove the segments by cutting the rind off the outside and cutting in between the connective membrane.
- To assemble, place the beets in separate bowls and toss with the vinaigrette and salt and pepper. Place a spoonful of the whipped goat cheese on a plate and spread with a spoon. Very carefully place the beets on the goat cheese. Place a few slices of orange segments, pistachios, and garnish with either micro greens or fresh herbs. Serve with toasted bread or rosemary grissini.