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Beetroot, Goat's Cheese & Toasted Walnut Salad


 Beetroot, Goat's Cheese  & Toasted Walnut Salad  

I think one of my favourite salad combinations has to be fresh greens tossed together with roasted beetroot (beets) and goat's cheese.  For a girl who only ever ate processed cheese slices and Velveeta cheeses (if you can even call them cheese, lol) when I was growing up, I can say that I now have a very well developed cheese palate!  That's what becoming a Chef did for me.  It truly broadened my taste horizons  . . .  



Something very beautiful happens when you combine the sweetest roasted beetroot with the milky tang of goat's cheese!  Those two ingredients just bring out the best in each other.  Mind you I also adore roasted beetroot, so for me it is win/win! 


 Beetroot, Goat's Cheese  & Toasted Walnut Salad 

Combine these two tasty ingredients with some dark salad leaves (today it was spinach) and toasted walnuts and you have an unbeatable combination  . . .  earthy sweet beetroot  . . .  tangy milky cheese,  almost metallic (but in a good way) salad greens and then the crunch of toasted walnuts.  



Roasting brings out the wonderful natural sweetness of beetroot, and its really not all that difficult to do.  Most grocery stores do offer packs of them pre-roasted, but nothing beats the taste of beets that you have roasted at home yourself! Once roasted you can use them for all sorts . . .  buttered and seasoned as a side dish, Harvard Beets, or in salads such as this one.  In all honesty I love beetroot so much I could eat them just like apples. (They are full of goodness and so healthy!)



Perfectly Roasted Beetroot

Yield: variable
Author: Marie Rayner
This is the perfect way to roast beetroot in the oven. It is much cheaper to do it yourself and the flavour far surpasses anything you might buy already cooked in the shops.

ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of beets with plenty of stem still attached
  • light olive oil

instructions:

How to cook Perfectly Roasted Beetroot

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Have ready a baking tray.
  2. Scrub your beetroot really well to remove any grit or sand and them dry them.  Lop off the tops, leaving a good 2 inches of stem. (If you are lucky enough to have fresh greens on top, save them and cook them as you would cook fresh spinach.  Delicious!)  Rub each beet with some oil.
  3. Have ready squares of aluminium foil large enough to wrap each beetroot individually.  Place each beet onto a square of aluminium foil, bringing  it up around the beet to enclose completely and twisting it tightly shut.  Place onto the baking tray.
  4. Place into the preheated oven and roast for 45 to 60 minutes (depending on the size of the beets).  They are done when a toothpick slides in easily through to the centre.
  5. Remove from the oven. Let cool until you can comfortably handle them. Unwrap the foil and discard. Using some paper towel, gently rub the skin on the beets back and forth to remove easily without staining your hands. (Don't apply too much pressure. Easy does it.)  Remove and discard the stems.
  6. They are now ready to use as you wish.  They will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Created using The Recipes Generator 



Toasting your walnuts really enhances the nuttiness of them, which goes so well with the other flavours and of course . . .  at the end of the day, a really tasty salad dressing is the crowning glory of what is essentially a delicious salad! 

I like to use a Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing  . . .  simple ingredients.  Balsamic vinegar (a good one), oil, seasoning and some Dijon mustard and honey.  Simply beautiful.  I love Balsamic vinegar. I could eat it with a spoon.  Liquid gold . . . and there are so many varieties of it available today  . . . 




You do want to use a real quality vinegar and not an imitation. The first written document about Balsamic Vinegar comes from the eleventh century, (around the year 1046 from the Court of Matilde di Canossa). During the centuries the production of the balsamic vinegar has gradually improved, becoming famous as a medicine and a special dressing throughout the world. 

Historical documents and tradition confirm that the first purpose of balsamic vinegar was for medical use and later for culinary reasons. There are several documents that demonstrate the use of vinegar as a remedy for the digestion, as a tonic for the throat and respiratory diseases, and against scurvy. The use of balsamic vinegar was also known for its aphrodisiac properties. The legend is that this theory was tested by Isabella Gonzaga and later by Giacomo Casanova because they knew of these ‘magical effects.’ 

Right up until the last century, balsamic vinegar was also given to children during the winter suffering from respiratory and immune diseases, or to aid in digestion and circulation. Today's Balsamic Vinegar has maintained the original healthy properties, thanks to its digestive qualities. It also promotes circulation and helps respiratory system. 

And its delicious!

Beetroot, Goat's Cheese  & Toasted Walnut Salad


Of course the best Balsamic vinegar comes from Modena, where it is matured in wooden barrels, and refined according to a very particular process of pouring, refining and aging.  The longer it is aged, the more defined and pure the flavour. True Balsamic vinegar is composed from pressing a specific grape (Trebbiano and Lambrusco) which are grown and cultivated in the Modena area of Italy.  Anything else is only an imitation . . .



Like anything of quality it takes quality ingredients and methods to begin with and time . . .  it is not at all unusual for a good balsamic vinegar to have taken ten years of resting in special wooden barrels to achieve taste perfection.  There truly is no comparison.



In today's dressing I used a  Virgin Walnut Oil and a Caramelised Onion Balsamic Vinegar from ilGusto who source all of their vinegars and oils straight from the producers.

Beetroot, Goat's Cheese  & Toasted Walnut Salad


Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
A delicious mix of roasted beetroot, salad greens, toasted walnuts and soft goats cheese in a tangy walnut balsamic dressing!

ingredients:

For the salad:
  • 4 cups of salad greens
  • 3 medium roasted beetroots
  • 2 TBS finely chopped peeled red onion
  • 60g walnuts, toasted lightly (1/2 cup)
  • 120g soft goat's cheese (1/2 cup)
For the dressing:
  • 60ml walnut oil (1/4 cup)
  • 2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar  (I used a Caramelised Onion Balsamic)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBS liquid honey
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

instructions:

How to cook Beetroot, Goat's Cheese  & Toasted Walnut Salad

  1. To make the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing together until amalgamated.  Set aside.  (Alternately shake them together in a jar with a lid.) 
  2. To toast the walnuts, toast them on a baking tray in a preheated 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4 oven for about 10 minutes or until fragrant.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Scatter the lettuce onto a serving platter.  Sprinkle the chopped onions over top.  Cut the beetroot into cubes and tuck it into the salad leaves.  Crumble the goats cheese and toasted walnuts over top.  Drizzle with the dressing to serve. 
  4. You can divide this between four plates and pass extra dressing at the table. Delicious!
Created using The Recipes Generator


  

I was sent a variety of Balsamic Vinegars and virgin oils from ilGousto to try here at home.  I wasn't aware that so many tasty varieties existed.  Of course there was the regular Balsamic vinegar, but as well they have Balsamic vinegars infused with other flavours  . . .  Caramelised Onion (as I used here today), Maple, Mango, Raspberry, Apple, Calamansi, Cherry, Cranberry, Fig-Pomegranate, Lemon Ginger, and even (unbelievably) Chocolate!!  Each one incredibly delicious.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are no less than twenty-five varieties to choose from.  You really need to check them out!

Their oils are just as varied, with nineteen different virgin oils to choose from.  Plus they sell liqueurs, spirits and gift packages.  Very interesting!

Beetroot, Goat's Cheese  & Toasted Walnut Salad 

To find out more about their products to check out the ilGusto Website. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  What to get the cook who has everything . . .  a fabulous foodie gift for sure, or even for yourself. 

In the meantime I'm enjoying my Beetroot, Goat's Cheese & Toasted Walnut Salad, made all the tastier for having a quality dressing!!


Note - I was sent product from ilGusto to try, but was not required to write a positive review in return.

QuickEdit
Marie Rayner
6 Comments
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6 comments:

  1. Yum yum yum and yum again! I hear more and more about how beets are so good for you. I planted them in the garden this year and they're not doing too well but I think I have time to plant a second batch. Thank you for the recipes and great ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Connie! I adore beets. I could eat them every day! xoxo

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  2. I love variations on this salad..roasted beets are the cat's meow:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could eat them like candy Monique! I love them! xoxo

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  3. Oh this looks so good, and what a collection of vinegars you have! Velveeta is still my husbands favourite cheese lol and cheese whiz🙈 And yes Marie that's Gracie , she loved her dolly very much and still sleeps with her, Gracie has autism but she is a brilliant little girl living her best life! Thank you so much for the kind words Marie, I think of you often, you were the first blog I read! That's a long time ago lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so welcome Laurie! I do believe we have been friends a very long time now. You were always so kind to me and I have never forgotten it! Love you to bits. I strongly suspect our Eileen is on the spectrum for Autism as well, although 40 years ago they did not have a name for it! They are tender blessings in the lives of those who have the priviledge of caring for these special souls! Love you sweet Laurie and I am so pleased that you are still about! xoxo

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