Roasted Beet Salad with Balsamic Crema, Honey and Gorgonzola
Summer beets are completely different from what we get here year round. Summer beets are soft and sweet and take hardly any time to cook, whether roasted in the oven or cooked on top of the stove. I make all kinds of things with beets (even pickled beets) and will post a few of them over the next while. I am trying to limit myself to a post a day for now so I have a lineup of recipes ready to be posted, waiting their turn. This recipe can be made with either roasted or boiled beets with equally good results.
Today I roasted a large bunch of beets and used some of them for this quick but delicious beet salad drizzled with balsamic crema and honey. Balsamic crema is a reduction of balsamic vinegar and the reduction produces a thick and sweet vinegar that can be drizzled on fruits. vegetables and even some ice creams. The balsamic crema (cream) is sold in squeeze bottles in specialty stores and is a must for every kicthcen.
Like all good recipes this dressing developed on the spur of the moment when I wanted to make a quick beet salad for friends who came back from sight seeing. It was delicious so I have been making it ever since. It pairs particularly well with gorgonzola so if you are not avert to blue cheeses then try it with gorgonzola. Otherwise you can use goat cheese. If you don’t like goat cheese either (I have one friend like that, you know who you are) then I can’t help you, you are on your own. Here is how I make it:
Roasting the beets:
1-2 beets per person, depending on their size
Olive oil for roasting the beets
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar crema (note: this is not the time to use your $150 bottle of balsamic vinegar. Keep that one for drizzling over a salad or fruit).
2 tablespoons honey
Walnuts (can use candied walnuts, homemade or purchased)
A few handfuls of greens
To roast the beets rinse them and dry with paper towels. Line a baking sheet with foil, then with extra foil create a packet to roast the beets in. Place the beets in the foil packet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Pour the water into the foil packet and close it shut, twisting the edges together so steam does not escape. Place packet on the baking sheet and roast in 400℉ oven for 30-45 minutes until beets are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife. I usually take them out after 30 minutes to check if they are done. Depending on their size and freshness, roasting time can vary. Be very careful when you open the packet as the steam will escape and can burn you. When the beets are done remove from oven and allow to cool, partially covered, until you can handle them. When they have cooled sufficiently put on a pair of thin kitchen rubber gloves and peel the beets. If you cut of the root end they should slip out of their skin easily. Discard skins and place the beautiful, shiny beets in a bowl.
To make the dressing simply combine the balsamic crema and honey in a small bowl and whisk until runny (it’s a little thick at first). You can taste it and if it’s too acidic, add more honey, if too sweet add more balsamic crema..
To assemble the salad cut the beets into slices or wedges or any other shape that strike your fancy. Place beets on a salad plate and drizzle with dressing. Arrange a few greens on the side and scatter a few chunks of gorgonzola and a few nuts around.
Drizzle more dressing over and around the plate.