“Summertime and the livin’ is easy” the song says. And, it is. The Mount Hope Farmers’ Market in Bristol had fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, sand dabs (fish), spinach, bunches of golden beets and locally made cheeses on a recent visit that translated into two great meals.
For the first meal, I roasted the beets — very easy to do — and created a cool salad perfect for a hot summer day.
The second meal, which was a little more complicated, featured the sand dabs sautéed in a little butter. Then, I stuffed the portobella mushrooms with spinach, cheese and a little panko bread crumbs.
But, to get back to the beets. I love the golden beets because they don’t bleed everywhere. A description on roasting them is below. So simple. I roast them one day (in the evening, preferably, because you have to use the oven) and then slice and use them the next day, keeping the kitchen cool.
And, sometimes I’m too lazy to even make a vinaigrette. I keep a squeeze bottle of balsamic glaze (it’s at the supermarket) and just drizzle it over a salad or a plate of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. See, easy!
Roasted Beet, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
Serves 2 or 3
Half a dozen beets of any color
Field greens or your favorite lettuce
Crumbled blue cheese
Chopped, toasted walnuts
Halved cherry tomatoes
Balsamic vinaigrette or balsamic glaze
Scrub the beets and cut off the tops, leaving an inch of greens. Place on a large square of aluminum foil. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil and rub it all over the beets. Wrap the packet up, crimping the edges tightly. Place on a pie plate or jelly roll pan and bake in a 400° oven for 50 minutes (if the beets are really small, check them at 40 minutes). A sharp knife should easily penetrate the center of the largest beet.
Cool until you can handle the beets. Place them on a couple of paper towels and use the towels to gently rub the skins off the beets. Trim off both ends and slice to serve or refrigerate in a covered bowl until ready to use.
To plate your salad (or individual salads if you wish), place a layer of lettuce on the plate. Arrange the beets in an attractive pattern. Sprinkle with blue cheese, walnuts and tomatoes. Drizzle with vinaigrette or balsamic glaze. Serve with garlic toast or toasted pita bread.
Note: Think about the colors of your salad. I use red or green tomatoes with the yellow beets. But, a combination of purple beets and the chioggia beets (purple and white stripes) would be pretty together, too. And, red beets would look nice with yellow tomatoes.
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