Beets with Endive, Citrus and Radish Salad, Basil-Goat Cheese Crostini

It’s been hot here in Colorado, like Hades hot.  It’s been that way for a while.  So much so that the local Colorado produce is getting to market earlier.  Unfortunately that means it will also be ending earlier and will most likely be an abnormally long time between seasons if next years weather is back to normal.  That being said, as I sit here in front of my computer, it has rained for 2 days and the weather has gotten much cooler.

When it gets as hot as it was last week, it’s hard to think about cooking.  So this week I did something a little out of character, I made myself a salad.  Entree salads at the restaurant are extremely popular this time of year, but I’ve never been much of a salad eater.  I like salads, but when confronted with the choice of a salad or, say, a slab of perfectly seared foie gras, I’m going foie every time.

This isn’t so much a recipe as a list of ingredients I threw together to make this salad.  I had beets in the fridge.  My two options were oven roasting or stove top. Stovetop sounded cooler and quicker so that was the direction I went.  Trim the tops off of three to four beets (reserve a few of the beet greens for the salad), about the size of a plum, cover in cold water with a couple tablespoons of white vinegar.  The vinegar doesn’t really add any flavor but helps to keep the beets from bleeding. Bring those to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  They should be tender in roughly an hour.  Remove the pot from the stove and place in the sink.  Run cold water over the beets until they are cool enough to handle but not cold.

Using a paper towel or a clean rag, gently rub the skin off the beets.  The stem at the top should also rub off quite easily.  Set aside and prepare the items for the salad.

To chiffonade, layer the leaves one on top of the other and roll it up. Slice the leaves about a quarter inch thick to produce ribbons.

Ingredients:

  • 2 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 1 orange, cut into supremes, juice reserved
  • 1 head frisee lettuce, outer greens leaves removed and stem removed, held in cold water
  • 1 head Belgian endive, cored and julienned
  • 1/2 cup red onion, julienned
  • 1/2 cup of the beets greens, rinsed and chiffonade
  • Salt, fresh cracked black pepper and a good olive oil

For the goat cheese crostini, I used sourdough and gently grilled it, you can toast or serve as is, it’s really up to you.  I mixed about a half cup of goat cheese with a Tbs. of chopped basil, a little of the orange juice and salt. Smear a piece of your crostini with a nice amount and your good to go.

To assemble:

Slice the beets on a Benriner, this is also what I used for the radishes, you can see how thin I got them.  A Benriner is a super sharp, mandolin style slicer that does amazing things with vegetables.  If you don’t have one in your kitchen, you should definitely get one.  You will most likely begin to create dishes just so you can use your new Benriner.  I don’t know a chef who doesn’t have a couple of them, but be careful, they are extremely sharp, make sure to use the protective cover or you may not end up loving your Benriner as much as I said you would.

Lay the beets on your plate in an attractive fashion, or just toss them on there, it’s up to you.  I was taking a photo so…

Toss together the orange, radish, frisee, endive, red onion and beet greens.  Moisten with the orange juice and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Lay your salad on the plate, finish with salt, black pepper and your goat cheese crostini. This would be a great starter to a meal or make a larger portion for an entree salad.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this with a small piece of white fish such as halibut or cobia.

Now that the weather has cooled down a little here, I’m thinking about turning the oven back on, let’s see what I’ll cook for next week.

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