May 2020

Smashed Beet And Warm Goat Cheese Salad


2 bunches beets, in assorted colors, about 8 (about 1 pound, trimmed) trimmed and scrubbed
3 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh goat cheese (not too creamy), cut into six 3/4-inch thick discs
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted and ground (see tip below)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
5 ounces arugula (about 6 lightly packed cups)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

tip: to toast hazelnuts, spread the hazelnuts on a small baking sheet and toast in a 350°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the skins are starting to flake off and the nuts smell and look toasty. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a folded dish towel, and set aside to cool. Rub off the skins (don't worry if they don't come off completely)


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Put the beets in a small saucepan and cover with 2 to 3 inches of water. Add a big pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a brisk simmer and cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 25 to 35 minutes. The timing will greatly depend on both the size and freshness of the beets. Let sit in the cooking water for 10 minutes. Drain off the hot liquid and fill the pot with several changes of cold water. Let sit until cool enough to handle. Put your hands under the water and slip the skins off the beets.

Smash the beets by placing them on a clean baking sheet and pressing down lightly with a glass or small plate. You are just trying tp crack them open, but if some of them break up completely, it's fine. Drizzle the beets, still on the sheet, with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, for 30 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and crisp on the edges.

While the beets are cooking, put the cheese on a small plate and gently coat with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Transfer to a clean plate and then coat on all sides with the nuts. Transfer to a small baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Spread the arugula on a platter or on 6 individual plates and top with the beets and warm cheese. Drizzle with the vinegar, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Smashed beets1200x675