Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beet Salad with Black Mission Figs & Goat Cheese

If you haven't noticed, I am going through a farmer's market obsession this week. These beautiful red and golden beets I scooped up yesterday while at the farmer's market along with these mouth watering black mission figs. This whole salad actually is mouth watering. The combination of the roasted beets with the sweet mission figs and creamy goat cheese topped with chopped pecans.....can you say yum?? What a great combo.

I then whipped up this tangy Orange Dijon Vinaigrette to drizzle on top of it all.

(*Side note: a quick note about figs. In my opinion, the best kind are black mission figs. There are also brown turkey figs but I don't find them as flavorful. The most important thing when buying figs is to make sure they are really, really ripe. The more ripe, the sweeter and more flavorful. An unripe fig is not good. It hasn't developed all it's flavor yet and tastes kind of bland. This makes all the difference. A fresh fig that is ripe should actually start to taste like it's warping into a dried one. It will still feel soft and look/taste fresh, but it begins to naturally caramelize as it ripens and basically just tastes delicious.

Enough about figs. Let's get to the recipe:

3 medium red beets
3 medium yellow beets
3 handfuls of arugula
3 very ripe black mission figs, halved lengthwise
2 two-inch pieces of soft fresh goat cheese (I cut mine in the shape of triangles)
1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans
Serves 1 salad portion (but you will have a lot of beets left over)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems from beets and scrub well. Drizzle beets with olive oil so each one is well coated. Wrap them up individually with tin foil. Place in a casserole dish and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, until a knife inserted into the largest beet meets no resistance. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes until tin foil is no longer hot to the touch. Unwrap each beet (be careful, these will still be hot!) and let cool just until you can handle them (they should still be very warm). Using disposable surgical or dish gloves (this is so you don't stain your hands and nails from the beets) you are going to remove the skins. Using a paper towel, rub each beet to remove the skin. (It should come off easily if it's still pretty warm). Separate the red beets from the golden ones so the red guys don't stain the yellow. Take each beat and cut in half lengthwise. Cut again lengthwise. Cut one more time length wise (making it 3 times total - unless your beets are more on the smaller side). Then cut each lengthwise piece in half horizontally (not lengthwise). Still keeping the red and golden beets separate, put in two different bowls and set aside. Get yourself a nice size salad plate or bowl. Add the arugula to the bowl and top with both color beets. Arrange the sliced figs around the beets and then add the goat cheese to the middle (of course you can arrange it however you like. This is just for presentation!) Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the cheese and elsewhere around the salad. Top with my Orange Dijon Vinaigrette and enjoy yourself a fantastic salad :)

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