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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Roasted Beet and Basil Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

I recently found a great, impromptu place for the most divine, earthy beets. I was heading home on Route 8 in Cheshire, MA and a tent was up with a sign for fresh veggies. I couldn't resist. And I was not disappointed as I found bunches of perfect carrots, beets, hot peppers, squash, and more. 

Let's just say that local produce doesn't taste like the plastic, bland stuff you get in the store. These veggies were as sweet as candy. And bursting with flavor. That's when you know you're getting real nutrients from your food - you can taste it! I decided to roast the beets to bring out their sweetness and then enjoy them in a salad. A favorite addition to any salad is bacon. The bacon also complimented the earthy sweetness of the beets. 

Once the beets were out of the oven, I kept popping them in my mouth like popcorn. Little pieces of red candy and they were so perfect. I was afraid I wasn't going to have any left for our dinner. That happened once when I roasted brussels sprouts I bought from the farmers' market. My daughter tried the beets as they are an attractive crimson, but she did not approve. We'll try them again sometime. Enjoy the recipe (see below) as the delicious vinaigrette sends this salad to the moon and back. You will make this again. 

Roasted Beet and Basil Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Makes 2 dinner-sized salads

3 cups mixed greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.) 
6 slices of bacon
4 tbsp blue cheese
2 medium sized beets
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
3 tbsp reserved bacon drippings
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
pinch of red pepper flakes
sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash, peel, and dice the beets a medium size. Place them on a sheet tray and coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in an even layer on the tray and roast for about 35 minutes or until tender, turning them over at 15 minutes.
Cook the bacon when the beets are in the oven. When the bacon is done, make the vinaigrette by whisking all of the ingredients in a bowl.
Prepare the salad by distributing the greens equally on two plates. Top the greens with the onions, tomatoes, and basil.
When the beets are done, put them on the salads. Crumble the bacon on top of the salad and add the blue cheese. Lastly, drizzle on the warm Bacon Vinaigrette. 

1 comment:

Janice Pattie said...

Wow, that looks great.