I love salads. Leafy greens tossed with a light vinaigrette as a starter, whole-meal salads with chicken or steak and chunky vegetables or something in-between. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with great farmers markets, now’s the time to take a stroll and see what’s available for your salad bowl.
For lunch today I made one of my favorites.
Romaine lettuce, toasted almonds, roasted/steamed beets, sweet white onion, cranberry/pecan goat cheese and a mandarin/lemon dressing.
First, the beets need to be cooked. My favorite way to do them is to cut the leaves off (use them in a soup or saute them for dinner), wash well and wrap in a couple of layers of aluminum foil. Then they go into a 400 F oven for 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours — timing will depend on the size of the beets. They’re done when a skewer or a thin knife can be inserted with little to no resistance. Take them out of the oven and leave them, wrapped in the foil for about 15 minutes, or until they’ve cooled enough to handle. If you’ve got them, put on some gloves and rub the beets — the skins should slip right off. If not, use a paring knife to help them along. Slice the beets, put them into a bowl and into the fridge to chill. You can cook these and keep them in the fridge, covered, for a few days.
I used romaine lettuce because that’s what I had in the fridge but you can use anything you like. Just wash and dry well, tear it into bite size pieces (using a knife to cut the lettuce will make it rust faster than tearing). Top the lettuce with some thinly sliced white (or red) onion, toasted almond slivers, chilled beets and cheese. More often than not, I have a package of my favourite Israeli sheep feta in my fridge and the tangy, creamy cheese is perfect for this type of salad. Today I had a delicious log of pecan/cranberry goat cheese in the fridge, so that’s what I used.
Finally, drizzle the salad with citrus vinaigrette and serve.
Citrus Vinaigrette — Makes enough for 4-6 servings
3 Tbsp. mandarin (or orange) juice
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch black pepper
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Dijon (or grainy) mustart
1/4 cup canola or other light oil
Whisk all ingredients together and taste, adjusting salt and pepper if necessary.