Beets, Belgian Endive, and Feta Salad

4 cups Beets, mixed red and golden
1 cup salt (for salt roasting)
7 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Leaving on the tails and 1 inch of the stem on the beets, rinse them, put them in a baking pan with 1 cup salt, cover and roast for 45-60 minutes. Should be slightly firm when removed.
  3. Cool beets, then peel and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Reduce oven heat to 350F.
  4. Boil beets with 3/4 cup water 10-15 min until tender. Use a separate saucepan for red and golden beets (if using). Freeze to cool
  5. Mix 6 tablespoons of the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  6. Toss beets in half of the vinaigrette.
  7. Toss the walnuts with the remaining walnut oil, salt, and pepper, bake in 350F oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the smell toasted. Set aside to cool.
  8. Just before serving, quarter the endive, cut out the cores, and break into leaves.
  9. Arrange endive leaves in a spoke pattern on individual plates. Spoon beets in the center.
  10. Lightly dress endive with vinaigrette. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the salad and top with walnuts.

Chef: beets were very good, cooked all the way, but with a bite to them; nuts had good flavor. Simple plating layout, looks nice, could have had more dressing even just on plate to add sheen to the salad.

Personal/team critique: beets looked great & had good texture/flavor, could have cooked gold and red separate to keep gold color better, the salad on endive made it possible to eat with fingers and a little cleaner. The walnuts and feta were mixed in well and didn't overpower the rest of the salad.  We liked the colorful salt that came form salt roasting, but have to be careful as a garnish because guests won't necessarily know it's salt and may eat it and it--not pleasant.

Lessons Learned:
  • The bright contrast of the gold and red beets is nice. When they cook together however, the red will dye the gold, so it's important to keep them apart if you're looking for that color. The beets are the star of this salad, so cooking them well is important.
  • Dressing can be added to a plate to give a nicer appearance. When everything is served on individual endives, there is a lot of white space and dressing is a good filler to make the plate look nicer.