The Beet Goes On.... a Gorgeous Salad

My garden is a gorgeous, weedy mess. After a really dry spring (NO rain in May), we finally got beautiful moisture in June. Everything sprung to life! Including the weeds. The problem is, it's been raining every few days, and hasn't dried out enough to weed the garden in between. But that's ok - tonight's supper salad was fresh from the garden (lettuce, lamb's quarters, chickweed, spinach, kale, chard, garlic scapes and onions) and everything's thriving alongside the weeds. 

We're just starting to see baby garden beets here in Alberta, which always gets me excited for the fresh recipes my family loves... roasted with garlic, shaved into a salad, beet chips, and more. However, we're still enjoying the remaining few packages of beets from last year's garden, which are ready to go and really versatile. 

When I harvest beets in the Fall, I always prepare the bulk of them for the freezer, preserving the fresh flavour for later. My favourite way to do this is to roast, dice and freeze. 

How? Trim the tops to 1" - no closer or your beet will "bleed out". Rub or drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, wrap in foil (or layer in a roaster tightly sealed with foil) and roast at 375 until tender. That will depend on the size of your beets. Small beets take around half an hour, while larger ones can take an hour. 

Once you can easily pierce them with a knife, they're done. Allow to cool until you can handle them. This is the magic part - the skins will slip right off. Rub them with your hands (some people use clean rubber gloves for this, which keeps them from staining your skin and does help the skins to come off), or use a knife or peeler to scrape away the skin. 

Slice, dice or shred your roasted beets, pack in freezer bags and pop in the freezer for later use. They're fully cooked, so all you need to do is thaw before using. If you want to cook them up, maybe saute with onions, thyme, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon or orange juice and dash of salt and hot pepper flakes, they'll take 5-10 minutes to be ready. This is a brilliant way to have dinner-ready beets all year round. 

And now for a recipe.

My absolute go-to potluck dish these days is a beet salad from Gwyneth Paltrow's first cookbook, It's All Good, called Frankie's-esque Beet Salad. Apparently it's similar to a salad she enjoys at an NYC restaurant by the name of Frankie's. This is beautiful, simple, and absolutely delicious. 

My version of
"Frankie's-esque Beet Salad" 
by Gwyneth Paltrow

2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons white white vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds roasted beets of your favourite varieties, roughly diced
2 avocados, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced.

Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and olive oil in a large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the mixed beets and green onions and gently stir to combine.  Transfer the beets to a serving platter and scatter the avocado over the top.