I have waited for this day. The day when I get to open up, to reveal my truest, deepest inner self. I tend to rhapsodize about comfort food, butter, cheese, fried pastries; my posts focus on sweetness, fattiness, richness. But in my heart of hearts, I would be happy eating salad for every meal for the rest of my life. Yep, I love salad. I love its versatility; I love the endless combinations of ingredients and textures; I revel in the freshness of the greens, the crispness of the vegetables, the earthiness of nuts, mushrooms, beets. I’ve looked forward to this post, but I have dreaded it in equal measure. How do I convey the magic, the delight of salad? How do I convey my allegiance to the clan of Salad Lovers without alienating the (much larger) population of Salad Loathers, all the while attempting to convert the Salad Apathetic?
Salad is the Don Juan of meals. It infuses new life into elderly leftover roasted potatoes, seduces food on both sides of the fruit/veggie line, gallantly compliments baby greens, and seasons all items according to their needs: salt, pepper, creamy dressing, tangy vinaigrette. Okay, maybe I’m taking that metaphor too far, but the sentiment remains. Nothing compares to the variety of possible iterations and also manages to satisfy that human need for freshness and crunch. Whether you’re talking strawberries and feta over spinach, a full Cobb, or torn butter lettuce drizzled with peppery vinaigrette, you can find the flavor and feel you’re craving.
Making a salad for a party can be a bit of a challenge – ingredients prized for their freshness are usually best served immediately upon preparation – but this plate can be layered hours ahead of time and topped with avocado and dressing just before the meal begins. This is also my favorite kind of salad. It requires attention to construct: first, roasting and peeling the beets, then thinly slicing the spicy little radishes and those tender beets, trimming watercress, carving the avocado, crumbling cheese artfully. It’s a labor of love, and the final dish shows off the care you put into it. So if you’re the type who doesn’t normally do salad – and at the risk of sounding like your parents – go on and just try it. Who knows, you might even like it.
Avocado & Roasted Golden Beet Salad
- 1 Avocado, diced
- 1 bunch Watercress, washed & diced
- 3 Radishes, thinly sliced
- 3 Large Golden beets, roasted & sliced
- 2 tablespoons Soft goat cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 pinch Salt & Pepper
To start this salad, you have to do some roasting. Heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel three large golden beets, coat with olive oil and roast for about 40 minutes or until you can easily pierce with a fork. Once done, remove beets from oven, let cool, and slice.
Combine all salad ingredients. In a small cup, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper and whisk until well combined. Drizzle over salad and serve.