Beets are one of those foods where you either hate ‘em or you love ‘em. In my family, we are split. My mom loves them, my sister doesn’t mind them, and my dad and I just say no. Sometimes when you cook for other people though, you have to make sacrifices and cook foods you either don’t like or are uncomfortable with. Beets are that food for me.
But I have to admit, these beets were delicious (and easy to make!). I think it was the pairing with the peppery arugula and the citrus dressing that cut the earthy flavor of the beets. The goat cheese layered between each Chioggia beet (a less potent beet compared to the red sugar beet) also gave it a delectable taste that had you asking for more!
Beet and Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
4 small Chioggia beets (or red if you can’t find them)
1/2 of a fresh Italian loaf, cut into 1/2-inch squares
8-ounce log goat cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/3 cup good olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
Pinch of sugar
4 cups arugula
Freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tops and bottoms off each beet and wrap each individual beet in aluminum foil. Do not add olive oil or salt or pepper to the foil. Once oven is preheated, cook beets for 40 mintues to 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets. When a fork goes in easily, the beets are done.
2. To prepare the croutons: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the cut bread into a single layer. Add 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup olive oil to bread. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Using your hands, toss until each piece of bread is covered in a light layer of olive oil. Cook for 14 minutes or until croutons are golden brown on 400 degrees, tossing halfway. Set aside to cool.
3. To prepare the goat cheese: In a small bowl, combine with a fork the goat cheese and cream cheese. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
4. To prepare the dressing: In another small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and a pinch of sugar. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
5. Once beets are done, remove from oven and open each foil package to allow the beets to cool. Once beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skin using a wet paper towel. Thinly slice the beets like a tomato. Layer the beets with 1 tablespoon goat cheese between each layer into 3-beet-high stacks, beginning and ending with a beet.
6. In a large bowl, toss the arugula and croutons with the lemon dressing, to taste. Place the salad and goat cheese stacks on a large platter. Serve immediately.