Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Roasted Beet & Mâche Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Avocado

Roasted Beet & Mâche Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Avocado

You can say I've been on a Thomas Keller kick recently and I think that's because of our frequent trips up to Napa and dining at ad hoc.  The other reason is because his beets recipes are so tasty and beets are season!   

This recipe may seem complicating, but it's really simple.  You can do a lot of the prep work and start on the salad creation while the beets are in the oven.  I just broke it up into two separate recipes (Baked Beets + this salad recipe), since either dish can be enjoyed without the other.  They just come together very well.  Beets tend to pair well with walnuts and for an added bonus, you can add fresh goat cheese on top!  The original recipe actually does this but I'm not a huge fan of goat cheese, nor did I have fresh goat cheese in hand.  Instead I added avocado.  I also bet it would be good with some fresh grapefruit.


Ingredients for the Salad (inspired by Bouchon, p.76):
  • 16 Walnuts (or about 1/2 cup)
  • Baked Beets Recipe made with 8 Baby Beets, each about the size of golf balls
  • 2 ounces Mâche
  • 2 Tsp Minced Shallots
  • 2 Tsp Minced Chervil
  • 2 Tsp Minced Italian Parsley leaves
  • 2 Tsp Minced Chives
  • 2 Tsp Minced Tarragon leaves
  • 1 Avocado, cut into small chunks
  • 4oz Fresh Goat Cheese (optional)
Ingredients for the Walnut Vinaigrette (from Bouchon, p.71)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp Champagne Vinegar (I used 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp fresh Lemon Juice (I used 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup Walnut Oil
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

2. Though related, Chervil has a very different taste than Italian parsley.  It may be tough to find at a grocery store, but you should be able to find it at a Farmer's Market.

Instructions for the Roasted Beet & Mâche Salad:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Make the Baked Beets recipe.
  2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.  Set aside to cool.
    3. Mmm toasted walnuts.
  3. Prepare the Walnut Vinaigrette (see below).
  4. When the beets are ready, or almost ready, place the mâche in a mixing bowl.  Toss it with the 1 Tbsp of the Walnut Vinaigrette you just created, or just lightly enough to coat the greens.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  
    4. finished baked beets. mmmm.  they all dyed each other since i put them all in the same mixing bowl.  
  5. Place a mound of mâche in the center of each plate.  Arrange the baked beets around the mâche and garnish with the walnuts.  Distribute the avocado and optionally the goat cheese among the salad.  Sliced grapefruit is good too.  Spoon a little extra dressing around each salad and drizzle the plate with a little walnut oil.  Serve and enjoy!

Instructions for the Walnut Vinaigrette:
  1. For an emulsified dressing, combine the mustard, champaign vinegar and lemon juice in a small container and mix together with a hand blender.
    6. Meat juices + shallots popping in hot butter.
  2. With the blade running, slowly drizzle in the walnut oil.  
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    7. Walnut Vinaigrette 
This salad, even without the beets is so yummy.  We also really liked the dressing and used it on other salads.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!