I've loved beets for as long as I can remember, probably because my Mom made the best pickled beets in the world. And then years ago I worked in a restaurant where they served a salad with roasted beets. Since then I've been roasting beets for salads and just to eat.
Recently I've been finding recipes for salt-roasted beets. After learning that salt brings out natural sweetness in vegetables (try throwing a couple tablespoons of kosher salt in boiling water when cooking green beans to get the sweetest beans you'll ever eat), I thought I'd give this a try. There were several methods from completely encrusting a beet to simply putting 1/4" of kosher salt in a baking dish, adding beets (ends pared, but unpeeled) then covering with aluminum foil and baking until cooked through. I tried the latter. To me, there was just a tad of difference in the way I baked them before (wrapped in aluminum foil like a baked potato) and the salt-roasted batch. It really doesn't matter. Either way you'll end up with a scrumptious roasted beet.
So.....when I ran across this recipe for a salad including roasted beets, it piqued my interest. That along with my love for pecans. And goat cheese. Oh, and just to bump this simple salad one more notch, see if you can find Honey Goat Cheese (I get mine at Aldi's). I could live on this salad alone.
BEET SALAD with TOASTED PECAN VINAIGRETTE
Romaine, spring mix, spinach or a mixture
goat cheese, crumbled (use honey goat cheese if you can for deliciousness out of this world)
1/2 pecan halves or pieces
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp real maple syrup (not breakfast syrup)
2 Tbsp chopped shallot
3/4 cup EVOO
water for thinning, around 1/2 cup
S&P to taste
Instructions for the salad dressing:
Preheat oven to 350F. Place pecans on cookie sheet. Bake the pecans, stirring occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, around 10 minutes. Cool completely. Coarsely chop the pecans.
In a high-powered blender or food processor, add pecans, vinegar, syrup, and shallots. While blending, slowly add in the olive oil. Blend until completely smooth. Add water as needed to thin.
Season with S&P to taste.