Everyone knows that beets are absolutely delicious.
Except for those who think they taste like dirt.
When I meet these lost souls, I become evangelical over the injustice of judging the sweet roots by their canned or pickled brethren.
I propose golden beets.
Okaaaay. How about baby beets?
Finally, I doggedly insist that simply roasting the beets will lead to salvation.
Well, let me dress them in a bright, pithy orange marmalade vinaigrette and then perch warm, rich, pistachio-crusted goat cheese on top, you big baby.
You'll see the light.
And, tomorrow, when the color of your morning output sends your life flashing before your eyes?
Consider it divine atonement.
Beet salad with pistachio-crusted goat cheese
- 5 medium beet roots, scrubbed and dried
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachio meats
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1 small log (5 oz.) of goat cheese
- 1-1/2 Tbsp. bitter orange marmalade
- juice of one orange
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 oz. baby arugula
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cuddle the beets together on the far side of a large piece of aluminum foil, fold over, and crimp edges to form a purse. Place the purse directly on the oven rack to roast for 40-50 minutes (25-35 minutes for smaller beets), or until a knife enters and exits the beet with no resistance leaving merely a flesh wound. Open the pouch carefully, avoiding your own flesh wound, and allow the beets to cool.
In the meantime, set to work on crusting the goat cheese. First, pulse the pistachios in a small food processor until finely ground, then pour them into a small bowl. Put the flour into another small bowl and lightly beat the egg in a third bowl.
Slice the goat cheese log into four portions, using (unflavored) dental floss if you are obsessively inclined. Coat each disk in flour, then dip into the beaten egg, and finally into the crushed pistachios. Keep disks in the refrigerator until five minutes from service. (Can be made up to two hours in advance.)
Make the dressing: whisk together the marmalade, orange juice, cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, and that always ample pinch of salt and pepper.
When the beets have cooled, use your hands (or a paring knife) to slip off their skins. Dice them into 3/4-inch cubes and toss with half of the dressing.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a small sauté pan set over medium-low heat. Once shimmery, add goat cheese disks, browning for 2 minutes on each side.
Gently toss arugula with a spoonful of the dressing.
Compose each salad on the plate: start with a mound of beets (get cheffy with a ring mold if you're out to prove something), then a nest of arugula, and then with the warm goat cheese medallion propped to the side so as not to entirely wilt the greens.
Finish with a sprinkle of salt, a crack of pepper, and a last drizzle of dressing over the cheese and around the plate, Jackson Pollock-style.