Red and golden beet salad with walnut-balsamic vinaigrette
Cooking is an aesthetic experience. Before I even start to cook I may browse through beautiful food images in books and magazine and get inspired by an image, a colour, a combination of ingredients, a table setting. It’s already beautiful. Then I landscape the countertop with the cooking ingredients: colourful vegetables, fresh herbs, exotic spices, crusty bread, beautiful bottles of oil. The cooking itself is also aesthetic: flames rising to touch food on the grill, a simmering soup on the back burner, a melange of colourful vegetable in a saute pan. It’s beautiful. The final touch is on the plate, arranging, garnishing, hopefully without overdoing it. Cooking is an art but it is also a skill that you acquire through trial and error. Once you reach certain proficiency level you can explore your artistic side using shapes, colours and flavours to create dishes that appeal to both the eye and the palate.
This two-tone beet salad is simple to execute and gets points in all three categories. I roasted the beets to intensify their flavour and then cut them into manageable little cubes of equal size (approximately). I kept them separate in two bowls to prevent the colour from the red beets leaking into the golden beets.
The dressing is sweet and tangy and enhanced by the balsamic crema drizzle. I make the dressing with walnut oil, to correspond with the walnuts in the salad.
Just before serving add the walnuts and shredded radicchio to each beet bowls, then spoon the red beets first into the salad bowls and top with the golden beets. Crumble goat cheese (or gorgonzola if you have adventurous palate) over and garnish with edible flowers or micro-greens. You can have a nest of greens under the beets or just a few spears of Belgian endive.
4 red beets, medium size
4 yellow beets, medium size
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
4 tablespoons walnuts oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped.
1/2 small radicchio, shredded
A few raspberries, optional
2 tablespoons balsamic crema
Wrap the beets in a foil packet and roast in a 400F oven until easily pierced with a knife.
Remove and let cool, then peel and cut into medium dice, keeping the yellow beets separated from the red beets.
Combine the vinegar, agave and walnut oil and mix well. Drizzle the dressing over the beets and mix. You can refrigerate the beets at this point until serving but bring back to room temperature to serve.
To serve, add the walnuts and radicchio to each of the beet bowls and mix. Arrange a few endive leaves on the salad plates, then spoon the red beets first and the yellow beets over the red..
Scatter a few raspberries over and drizzle with the balsamic crema.
Crumble the goat cheese over,