Monday, September 15, 2008

Salad with Beets, Goat-Cheese and Orange Shallot Dressing

Recipe from Martha Stewart FOOD EVERYDAY
Adapted and Husband-Tested in Alice's Kitchen

This is just the tastiest and prettiest salad and one I make on a regular basis. It's a cinch to make plus most of the ingredients can be found in the fridge or your pantry so it can made anytime you're in the mood for something delicious. The sweetness of the orange juice and beets balances perfectly with the red wine vinegar and goat cheese. Toasting the walnuts gives a nice crunch to the salad. All of the ingredients can be found at Lost River Market & Deli.

1 large shallot*, minced (See below for information about shallots.)
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 can (15 oz.) sliced beets, drained (not pickled)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
6 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature (feta cheese is a good substitute)
6-8 cups spring salad greens

In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, vinegar, orange juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place beets in a small bowl and pour just a bit of the dressing over the beets; toss to coat. (Salad dressing and beets can be made ahead to this point.)
Place green in a large bowl. Drizzle greens with remaining dressing, and toss. Top with the beets. Sprinkle salad with toasted walnuts and goat cheese. (or check out the "fancy" version written below using the same ingredients for when you have company.)

"Fancy" Version:
Place walnuts in a shallow dish. With your hands, form goat cheese into 12 equal balls. Roll balls in walnuts, turn to coat completely, then flatten into disks.
Place green in a large bowl. Drizzle greens with remaining dressing, and toss. Divide among plates, and top each serving with some of the sliced beets and the goat cheese disks.

Shallot [SHAL-uht, shuh-LOT] Shallots are formed more like garlic than onions, with a head composed of multiple cloves, each covered with a thin, papery skin. The skin color can vary from pale brown to pale gray to rose, and the off-white flesh is usually barely tinged with green or purple. Fresh green shallots are available in the spring, but as with garlic and onions, dry shallots (i.e., with dry skins and moist flesh) are available year-round. Choose dry-skinned shallots that are plump and firm; there should be no sign of wrinkling or sprouting. Refrigerate fresh shallots for up to a week. Store dry shallots in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place for up to a month. Shallots are favored for their mild onion flavor and can be used in the same manner as onions.

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