Holy Moses I love a beet salad. Beets are wonderfully sweet and pair well with both vinegar and cheese, two of my favorite things. There are also many other ingredients that work wonderfully with beets, and a I think a beet salad is appropriate any time of year. If beets are something you usually shy away from, add this salad to your repertoire – it is incredibly healthy and deliciously addictive. And there will be beets upon beets all summer long at a Farmer’s Market near you!
Apple, Beet, Celery, and Onion Salad:
2 bunches medium chioggia or gold beets (about 6 plum-sized beets).
1/2 an onion, any color
2 stalks celery, leaves too!
2 crisp, tart apples (I used Pink Lady)
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar (you can substitute about 1/4 of the vinegar with something bolder if you prefer – I do! I used 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar and 3 Tbsp. apple cider)
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. walnut oil (almond, hazelnut, and olive oils are great, too)
good pinch of salt
Pecorino Romano or another firm, salty cheese
Place the beets in a large pot with a lid and cover with water by at least 1”. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and leave the lid slightly askew. Keep the beets at a low boil for 45-55 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Pour the beets into a colander while they are still very hot and then under cold, running water, slip off their skins. Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 15-20 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt and whisk vigorously to dissolve. Then whisk in the oil.
Thinly slice the onion and the apples and place into the bowl with the dressing. Toss everything together to coat. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slice them into bite-sized pieces and add to the salad. Slice the celery and the celery leaves very thinly and add to the salad. Celery leaves are delicious and will add a mild, herbacious flavor.
Toss everything together gently. Shave strips of Pecorino or other cheese on top of the salad as a garnish. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Manchego would be great substitutions. The cheese will be a nice, salty contrast to the sweet beets and the tart apples and vinegar.
If this combinations doesn’t toot your horn, try one of these suggestions using the same, simple dressing:
Beets, orange slices, and roasted, salted almonds
Beets, toasted walnuts, and a fancy, stanky blue cheese
Beets, green apples, and little chunks of vintage white cheddar (add a little whole grain mustard to the dressing)
Beets, blanched green beans, soft goat cheese, and capers