Spring Salad with Smashed Beets & Beet Vinaigrette

Pea Shoot Salad with Carameilzed Beets

I was so happy to see some bright young things at the co-op today - pea shoots and baby choi. I knew I wanted to try these smashed beets and I was planning to combine them with mashed potatoes (I had a whole colcannon idea going on) but reversed direction right there in the produce isle and decided to make a fresh spring salad instead. 

Smashed beets aren't poached in booze, they're flattened and fried. I like to get them really brown, almost black for a little char flavor. The liquid they cook in is reduced (get your BTU's on) and made into a smooth, slightly sweet vinaigrette. Egg adds richness and protein but you could also add feta or blue cheese, walnuts or chicken and keep the spirit of this. 

Spring Salad with Smashed Beet

Serves 2-4

3 golden or red beets, scrubbed, tough ends and whiskers trimmed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, peeled
3-4 cups spring lettuces/greens (pea shoots, baby choi)
1 egg, hard boiled

Beet Vinaigrette
Reduced beet cooking liquid
1 garlic clove (from beets)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper

1. Put beets, vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and garlic into a saucepan. Add water just to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook uncovered until fork tender, turning as liquid reduces (30-40 minutes). Remove beets and set aside. Remove and reserve garlic clove. Boil remaining cooking liquid until reduced to a 1/4 cup (about 8 minutes).  Cool slightly.

2. Cut beets into 1/2 inch slices (no need to peel - the skin gets pleasantly crispy). Put between two sheets of wax paper and thump with something heavy (a can or rolling pin) to flatten slightly. Lightly salt both sides. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large fry pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add beets, making sure you have room to flip them. Cook until you have a brown crust (approx. 5 minutes), then flip and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Remove to a plate.

3. Grate hard boiled egg on largest holes of grater and set aside.

4. Mash garlic clove and add to reduced cooking liquid then whisk in dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper,

5. Put lettuces on a platter and top with beets and egg. Drizzle dressing over and serve.

Fried Caramelized Beets


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