Beets and berries mingle with goat cheese in this gorgeous spring salad
Beets can be unruly in recipes, their dark crimson juices easily overtaking the other colors on the plate. This salad both unleashes and lassos that tendency.
Initially, it capitalizes on those colorful juices by making them part of the dressing. When wedges of roasted beets (which you can either roast yourself or buy pre-roasted) are tossed with a tangy, shallot-spiked vinaigrette, their juices enter the fold, adding an earthy-sweet flavor and royal hue to the dressing. Raspberries are tossed in for a measure of color-compatible, fresh fruitiness and to give the salad a spring vibe. A sprinkle of fresh tarragon adds a fragrant, anise dimension.
That mixture is then spooned onto large cuplike lettuce leaves where it is mostly contained, with just some of the luscious juices spilling over. The contrast of the green leaves and the dark red beet-raspberry mixture is simply stunning and is punctuated further with crumbles of white goat cheese, which also add a creamy richness to the plate.
It’s a gorgeous and unique salad that gives beets their rightful place, at the center of an alluring start to a spring meal.
Roasted Beet and Raspberry Salad With Goat Cheese
Total time: 20 minutes
4 servings (makes about 2 cups salad)
This salad capitalizes on beets’ colorful juices by making them part of the dressing. When its roasted wedges are tossed with a tangy, shallot-spiked vinaigrette, their juices add an earthy-sweet flavor and royal hue to the mix. Raspberries are tossed in for a measure of color-compatible fresh fruitiness and a sprinkle of tarragon adds a fragrant anise dimension. That mixture is spooned onto large, green lettuce leaves, and then soft goat cheese is crumbled on top. The result is a unique salad that’s an alluring start to a meal any time of year.
Note: If using fresh beets, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Slice the stems and leaves off the beets, leaving about a half-inch of stem. Scrub the beets well, then wrap them in foil and place on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the beets can be easily pierced with a fork or metal skewer. Let cool until cool enough to handle, then using your fingers and a paring knife as needed, peel, trim the stems and discard both.
Make ahead: The beets can be roasted and refrigerated up to 4 days in advance.
Storage: This dish is best served within an hour of making; it does not keep well.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces store-bought read-to-eat roasted beets, each cut into 6 wedges (may also use 4 small raw beets, about 5 ounces each; see Note above)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) fresh raspberries
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, plus additional whole leaves for garnish
12 medium-large heads Boston or bibb lettuce (from 1 leaf large)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled soft goat cheese (chevre)
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, shallot, honey, salt and pepper. Add the beets to the bowl with the dressing. Add the raspberries and toss gently to combine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
When ready to serve, toss the chopped tarragon into the salad to combine. Arrange 3 lettuce leaves on each serving plate, breaking the spines of the lettuce as needed so they lay nicely. Divide the salad evenly among the lettuce leaves, top each with goat cheese and garnish with the tarragon leaves.
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