Literally Beet Salad

If you’re looking for a simple, quick beet salad, then move along. I might make one of those later. This is literally beet salad, because it is composed almost entirely of beets. I wanted to use the entire beet, but cook each part in different ways. I roasted, marinaded, grilled, pureed, and deep-fried. You could skip a few steps and make this meal quicker, but would you really want to?

Serves 4

  • 8 beets
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 vodka
  • 1 egg yolk
  • goat cheese

Start some charcoal (outside); I use lump charcoal and a chimney started. Rinse 8 beets (preferably fresh from the garden), and cut the stems off about an inch above the beet. Oil and salt the beets, and put them in a 400 degree oven to roast 45-1 hour, or until easily pierced by a fork. Trim the greens off the stems, then stack the greens and slice them into strips. Spin the greens dry in a salad spinner, drain the bowl, then add the greens to the bowl, along with the zest and juice from 1 lemon and a big pinch of salt. Store in the fridge. Gather half of the stems and cut the leaf-free portion into 1-inch sections for later. When your charcoal is ready, grill the remaining stems until they are nice are charred. Add the grilled stems to the blender, and blend with 3/4 olive oil or other mild flavored oil. Blend for a few minutes, or as long as any pets of children can stand. When the beets are done roasting, trim the root and tops off. Slice the beets in half across the widest part, then into quarters, and let them cool completely. Put 2-3 cups oil in a sauce pan, and heat it up to 350 degrees. Whisk together 1 cup flour with 3/4 cup water, 1/4 vodka, and 1 egg yolk; it should look like pancake batter. Working in batches, batter the pieces of stem and fry them in the oil until they are a light golden brown and the bubbling has slowed noticeably. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Transfer the greens into the basket of the salad spinner, and spin all the lemon juice out. Add the lemon juice to the blended stems, and blend again. Transfer the greens back to the bowl and gently mix with freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, plate the greens, and top with a drizzle of the grilled-stem dressing, two beets (16 pieces), crumbled goat cheese, and fried beet stems.

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