So you thought you got off the hook this holiday season. Your friends are cooking the main dishes in these meat and starch infused food fests known as holiday dinner parties. Of course you're going to ask what you can bring, right? So you'll hear the "Oh, how about a side dish?" response. What could be easier, and maybe even healthy, than a good salad? But come on, these are your friends and families. Don't give them the usual bag of lettuce with some dressing sloshed on top, when with a little more effort you can bring a drop dead beautiful and delicious salad that will have them "oohing" and "aahing" all through the meal.
People, I give you the golden beet. And with this humble, yet beautiful, root vegetable, you can prepare an awesome salad that will raise the (salad) bar for meals to come! My friend DOR showed me this easy to prepare and crazily good dish a few weeks ago, and I took it yesterday for my contribution to my sister and bro-in-law's off the hook Thanksgiving meal. The requisite compliments were heard, accepted, and appreciated. Now it's your turn!
Roasted Golden Beet & Arugula Salad
6 golden beets about the size of a tennis ball
Two large handfuls (or one bag) of arugula
1 sweet or red onion
10 or 12 caper berries
Salt & freshly ground pepper
A mandoline, unless you're incredibly patient and steady handed enough to thinly slice your beets and onions.
1-Turn oven on bake to 500*. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aprchment paper. Wash beets and dry off excess moisture. Rub lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Arrange on baking sheet and out ion oven for 30-40 minutes. Beets are done when a fork goes in with a bit if resistance.
2-While beets roast, slice onions very thin, about 1/8".
The beets laid out and ready to be finished.
3-When beets are done, remove from oven, let cool, and peel with a paring knife. Slice beets with mandoline about 1/8" thick. Arrange beets on platter and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Arrange a couple of large handfuls of arugula on top of beets, leaving edges of beets exposed. Sprinkle onion slices generously on top. Drop the caper berries around the outside of the platter. Drizzle extra virgin olive and balsamic on top to taste. Sprinkle with salt and a few grindings of pepper. Serve immediately.
I know your next question: "Where can I get me one 'o them fancy slicin' machines?" Being the kitchen gadget whore that I am, I have long had a mandoline on my list. When OXO came out with theirs a few months ago, I was ready to pounce. Luckily I'm a world class procrastinator. My friend David brought his little Zyliss Easy Slice 2 over when he made the above salad. it worked fantastically. For the "serious" home cook, maybe you would want to upgrade to a fancier unit, but for most of us, this does plenty at a great price, around $25-$30. I got mine, and I love it! Very sharp slicing blade, portable, easy to clean, safe. It pretty much has it all!