Last week, Ariella Darsa Amshalem featured a raw take on a beet salad using pulp from juiced beets with her Beet, Carrot, Cucumber Juice and Salad Combo. This week we continue to explore the noble beet — this time in its roasted glory.
Embracing the beet
Beets have gotten a bad rap. Sure, they turn everything they touch that deep red color, and you might remember turning up your nose at a plate of pickled beets when you were a kid, but they’re really so much more.
The beet has a flavor all its own — a wonderful root vegetable earthiness with a twist of sweetness that makes me think it moonlights as a fruit. There are countless ways to prepare beets to make the most of their flavor and beautiful ruby color — and to change the minds of beet-haters everywhere.
A wealth of options
Beets can be grated or finely shredded and used raw in slaws and salads, where their firm, moist texture might remind you of a slightly earthier-tasting carrot. Beets do contain a fair amount of sugar, but their sweetness is less pronounced when raw. Ariella’s recent recipe for juicing beets and using the pulp in a salad is a wonderful way to really extract the most out of raw beets.
Many people boil beets, which is fine, too, but think about what’s happening to all those vitamins — not to mention the flavor. Most of it gets thrown out with the bathwater.
Personally, I prefer to eat my beets roasted. Cooking them with high, dry heat is perfect for making the beets knife-tender, concentrating their natural sugars, and intensifying that unique beet taste.
Dress up your beets
In this salad, the beet takes its rightful place in a trinity of awesome flavors. The Dijon vinaigrette dressing is both sweet and intensely tart. The earthiness and sweetness of the roasted beets balance the acidity of the dressing. The Burrata mozzarella, with its smooth, creamy texture, buffers the intensity of the other flavors.
I go light on the dressing in this recipe to allow the ingredients to shine. The recipe comes together easily — the most difficult part is preparing the beets, and most of the cooking time isn’t even active.
Beet Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette and Mozzarella
- 3 large (or 4 small) beets — you can use any color or a mix
- olive oil
- 3 balls of Burrata mozzarella — one for each diner
- 1 large heirloom tomato
- 4 pieces of basil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar — try pomegranate for a special treat (Red wine works, too!)
- 3 tablespoons grape seed oil (or other neutral oil)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the tops off the beets and coat them with a thin layer of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and wrap them in a piece of aluminum foil.
- Place in a 375°F degree oven for one hour. After 45 minutes, start checking to see if they are done. You should be able to pierce them easily with a paring knife.
- Remove the beets from the oven and use a clean kitchen towel or paper towel to scrub off the skin. It should come off very easily.
- Cut the beets into ¼” medallions and set in the fridge to cool. Meanwhile, cut the heirloom tomato into ½” pieces, taking care not to lose too much of the seeds.
- To make the vinaigrette, start with the Dijon, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
- Add the vinegar and start whisking while you add the oil, pouring in a thin, steady stream. We are looking for an emulsion. If the dressing is too thin for your liking, add more oil. It is important to note here that we are using a neutral oil, not olive oil, which is very flavorful and can add an unwanted bitter element.
- When you are ready to plate, take the ball of Burrata and lightly open it with your thumbs by pulling out from the center. Place it in the middle of the plate.
- Toss the beets and tomatoes in the dressing very lightly, trying not to break anything up. Spoon the mix around your Burrata.
- Roll up your pieces of basil, chiffonade, and sprinkle on top. Season with salt and pepper.