Sometimes, you really don't need much cooking skills to make a really fantastic dish.
I swear, if you have access to high quality ingredients, you're most of the way there. Really good ingredients naturally supply a ton of flavor and nutrients. The rest is simple. Just mix good ingredients together.
And so, so good.
I had a seriously good beet salad the other day at home, and it was ridiculously easy to make.
In the past, I've always roasted my red beets whole, covered in foil in the oven. This method is great if you have tons of time and don't feel like handling the beets. Then I discovered the glorious oven-roasted golden beets, made through a method that caramelizes the beets beautifully in the oven.
Just recently, because I was short on time, (and because I had bought these monstrously huge beets that would have taken hours to roast whole), I decided to chop them up while raw and roast the pieces in the oven with just a splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
It worked out great. I cut my roasting time in half, and I found yet another way to prepare this versatile vegetable. Yes, I did have to deal with having slightly pink fingers (easily addressed with a pair of gloves), but the time saved was well worth it.
I tossed the roasted beets with high quality imported feta cheese and drizzled them with a beautiful aged balsamic vinegar.
What a gorgeous combination of flavors. It was healthy, flavorful, and simply delicious.
Oven Roasted Beet Salad with Feta and Aged Balsamic
serves 4-6 as an appetizer
2-3 whole beets, cut up into similar pieces (about 3-4 cups worth)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon of each?)
1-2 oz feta cheese (or to taste)
1-2 teaspoon aged balsamic (or to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Toss the beets with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes.
A few notes:
It's hard to write a precise recipe for this salad because so much of it is subjective. Some people like lots of cheese, others don't. Similarly, the amount of balsamic vinegar you add will really depend on the flavor of the particular one you bought. Slightly sweet balsamic vinegars work better for this salad. You could try reducing cheaper balsamic vinegar down with a bit of sugar.
I think quality of ingredients can make a huge difference in whether this salad is just ordinary or whether it pops. I used a more expensive, imported Greek feta cheese and a really nice 10-year aged balsamic vinegar that I purchased at Il Buco (post coming soon!) in New York City. It was fantastic, and I think it made a huge difference in the dish as well.
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