Roasted Beet Salad with Feta and Candied Pecans
Roasted beet salad is a first course I serve often when we host dinner parties. It has great visual appeal. The dish doesn’t just have good looks though. The roasted beets are incredibly flavorful and they pair wonderfully with many ingredients. I've used them in risotto, gnocchi pasta and salad. To give the beet salad a rich mouth-feel, I added garlic-and-herb-flavored feta cheese and spicy candied pecans (I recently used them as garnish for pumpkin mousse) for crunch.
If you're planning a buffet-style dinner, you could serve the beet salad in endive or mini butter lettuce leaves as a "cup". Just spoon the mixture onto the leaves and chill for an hour before serving. When you're ready to serve, drizzle with the vinaigrette. Voilà!
Yields: 6 servings3 roasted beets (click on the link for the recipe)
6 ounces French feta cheese
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons curly parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons roasted pecan oil (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon pink, green and black peppercorn medley, coarsely crushed
1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup spicy candied pecans, coarsely chopped
4 cups salad greens (I used Iceberg lettuce)
3/4 cup your favorite salad dressing (click on the link for the recipe)
Prepping the beets:
Once the beets are roasted, let them cool completely for about an hour and a half. Wipe the skins off using paper towels.
Peel and dice the beets into 1-inch cubes. Chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
For the garlic and herbed feta cheese:
Cut the feta into cubes. Place the diced feta in a bowl. Drizzle with vinegar.
In a small bowl, combine the red chili flakes, crushed peppercorns, parsley and garlic powder. Add the mixture to the feta cheese. Toss well until coated with the herbs. Drizzle with pecan oil. Set aside.
Remove the diced beets from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to bring them back to room temperature. Add 3-4 tablespoons of salad dressing. Toss well.
Place the salad greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with 3-4 tablespoons of salad dressing. Toss well. Top with the beets and feta cheese. Sprinkle with spicy candied pecans.
Drizzle with the rest of the vinaigrette (or serve on the side).
I tend to buy French or Greek feta, which is very mild; Bulgarian or Romanian feta taste brinier and saltier.
If you like to use other cheeses, you could pair the salad with chèvre (goat cheese) or blue cheese.
You can also make this salad with golden beets. It's just as delicious.
In the photo, I used Iceberg lettuce. I usually also mix arugula, frisée, Romaine, red oak leaves or mâche (lamb's lettuce, also known as corn salad).Published By: on November 29, 2010.