I know it seems a shame to make a beet and goat cheese salad in the ripe and juicy fecundity of summer when come wintertime nearly every North American cuisine restaurant with the slightest bit of fancy has some variation on the beet salad. Normally, there’s no variation at all: some roasted beets, a knob or two of goat cheese, a pile of greens and perhaps a skiff of toasted pumpkin seeds. I’m not complaining about that; I almost always order it. What else am I going to eat in the winter? A caprese made with tomatoes from Mexico? Look, if there’s any Mexico travel to be had in the winter it’s going to be me on a flight to Mexico, not my damn tomatoes headed in the wrong direction.
What I love about this beet salad is that it could only happen now, in these brief and precious couple of months where the long winter rains are forgotten, Vancouver is paradise and I wouldn’t get on a plane to Mexico if you paid me.
This salad simply could not exist in October or November. These light, pretty one-bite golden beets are just not around then. Beets in winter need to be cut; they’re heavier, earthier and bloodily sustaining for the lengthening, cooling nights. As for the basil, it’s a buck forty-nine a bunch which means I can jam it into a salad dressing with such joyous generosity that I’ve almost used too much, as if such a thing were possible in the continent of Basil, in the continent of Summer. Thank God and Goddess for too much. Summer is about nothing if not too much. Too much sun? Too much black forest gelato? Too much time off? Never. Soaking in too much is what helps us not feel afraid in those inevitable times of not quite enough.
I rest my case for my little salad. Wishing you much too much on this summer Monday. xo Jasmine
Golden Beet Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Serves 2 with some leftover salad dressing
This salad really only has two necessary ingredients: roasted beets and the vinaigrette. I added some fat little kohlrabi matchsticks for crunch and some goat cheese because well, old habits die hard.
8 bite sized golden beets
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over beets and place them in a covered casserole dish. Roast until they reach desired tenderness. Depending on the size of your beets this will take at least 50 minutes. Check frequently after an hour. Allow to cool thoroughly and then remove skins if desired. Normally I like to leave skins on because they contain so much fibre and other nutrients but golden beets are so gorgeous without skins I can’t resist serving them that way.
Makes about 11/4 cup
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 basil leaves, packed tight
3/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
In a blender place rice vinegar, basil and garlic. Blend until garlic is fully pulverized and mixture is smooth. Then, with blender running pour in olive oil in a thin stream. Keeps for about a week in the refrigerator. Bright green color will darken slightly after a day or so. Drizzle over roasted beets, salads, cheese, fish or onto warm bread.