Friday, August 10, 2012
Rosemary Roasted Beet Salad with Bacon
Despite the fact that I haven't posted much this summer, I still think about this space a lot. I'm always book marking recipes and trying to figure out what direction I can take this site, and mostly I'm trying to figure out a better way to fit it into my busy schedule. I really miss being here.
For example, I have been working on this post since July 22nd. David and I took a drive to 229 Parks, a restaurant just south of Denali National Park to celebrate my birthday. We had a great meal. It took me forever to decide what to order off the menu though. They had a lot of small plates that sounded delicious along with some great dinner entrees, I wanted one of everything...plus dessert! It was my birthday after all.
The one thing on the menu that I knew I HAD to have was the beet salad: Salad Greens tossed in a Cider Thyme Vinaigrette and topped with Rosemary Roasted Beets, Honey Crisp Apples, Candied Nuts, Bacon, and Chèvre.
Then after one or two bites of the salad, I knew I would have to try an re-create it at home. I love the puzzle of deconstructing a dish and trying to figure out what is in it, then putting it back together in my own kitchen. This one took four tries. The dressing was the challenging part, but I finally got it right.
Rosemary Roasted Beet Salad with Bacon and Honey Thyme Vinaigrette
inspired by 229 Parks
Notes: This recipe involves a lot of steps and takes much more time than any salad reasonably should. The good news is that you can cook the bacon, roast the beets, and make the candied walnuts and dressing in advance. I recommend doubling the recipe so you have leftovers for lunch the next day. If you happen to have a lot of extra rosemary, I have found that you can't really overdo it. The beets don't really get any more potent, but it sure does make your house smell good while they are roasting. Also, this is a very rich salad, a little goes a long way.
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
For the Salad:
Fresh Salad Greens
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
5-6 medium size beets (red or golden are both great)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
3/4 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 Honey Crisp Apple, diced
2 oz. Chevre, at room temperature
Make the dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a measuring cup. Blend with an immersion blender to combine. Set aside. You will most likely not use all the dressing, but you can store it in the fridge for later.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the leaves and stems off the beets. You can cut the roots off too if you like, but I like how they look when you leave them on. Place beets in a covered, oven safe casserole dish. Make a rosemary nest around the beets and place cover on dish. Place dish in oven for 30-50 minutes, until beets are soft. Take out of oven and let the beets cool slightly. When beets are cool enough to handle, remove beet skins by rubbing the beet lightly. The skins will just slide off. Be careful, the beets are rather slippery. Dice the beets into rather large, but bite sized chunks and set aside.
While the beets are roasting, place walnuts in a small baking pan or on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes or until you can smell them toasting. Pour sugar into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Watch closely, as soon as the sugar turns to a medium amber caramel color, remove from heat and add the walnuts, stir to coat. Spread nuts out on a piece of parchment paper, use a spoon to separate them as much as possible. Let cool 10 minutes or so, then coarsely chop.
To prepare the final salad toss the salad greens with the dressing. Add a little dressing at a time to get the amount that is right for you. Divide greens equally among two or three bowls and top with the crumbled bacon, diced beets, chopped candied nuts, and diced honey crisp apples. Add three or four small dollops of goat cheese to the top and serve. You will want to mix the salad up in your bowl before eating to get everything coated with the dressing and goat cheese. It won't look very pretty as the beets will bleed into the goat cheese, but you won't notice after one bite.