Almost ten years ago, I went on a fabulous California North Coast honeymoon with my honey. As I’m sure you can imagine, that get-away was filled with culinary delights. We ate and drank at wonderful restaurants and Jack grilled us fabulous meals on the balcony outside our honeymoon suite. One of our favorite memories is of a dinner at the River’s End restaurant in Jenner, California. The chef included locally sourced food, some of which came from a garden right on the grounds outside the restaurant.
We’d just completed a fantastic run along a trail on a bluff looking out over the Pacific Ocean, and we were famished. We began our meal with oysters on the half shell and a crisp amber ale. Next, Jack and I ordered two entrées to share along with what proved to be a wonderful bottle of old vine Zinfandel from a California winery. Jack opted for roasted elk while I went for duck prepared three ways. While we were waiting for our entrées, we tucked into a pair of beautifully presented stacked beet salads. What a revelation! Growing up, I’d always been served canned, pickled beets. I developed a disdain for those beets. But roasted, fresh beets? Wow, who knew? River’s End’s creation featured three colors of perfectly roasted beet discs atop garden-fresh greens. In between each of the discs were crumbles of creamy goat cheese. A garnish of chiffonade basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette completed the presentation. The combination of flavors and textures were perfection.
Earlier this fall, beets showed up in our Farm Lodge vegetable box. With a lovely memory of our honeymoon meal, I set out to recreate this delicious salad. My version came out just as good as my memory. The combination of the earthiness of a roasted beet, a curl of basil, creamy goat cheese and tangy vinaigrette can’t be beat.
Roasted Stacked Beet Salad
- two portions of salad greens
- two medium-sized beets
- extra virgin olive oil
- a few sprigs of basil
- 2 tbsp goat cheese
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Coat beet roots in olive oil.
- Wrap beets in aluminum foil.
- Roast for about an hour.
- Beets are done when easily pierced with a knife.
- Let them cool enough to handle. Using a paring knife, skin the beets.
- Slice the beets while warm. Set aside.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing vinaigrette ingredients well.
- Place greens on plates. Top greens with one slice of roasted beet. Sprinkle beet slice with goat cheese. Continue with remaining beet slices and cheese. Repeat this process on another plate with the second beet.
- Roll up basil leaves and slice into thin strips. Sprinkle strips atop each salad plate.
- Drizzle each salad with vinaigrette dressing.
- Serve with freshly baked bread to sop up every crumb and delicious drop left on the plate.