Beets are a rather controversial vegetable. Along with Brussels sprouts, people love to hate beets. I was the Queen of Beet Haters until I ordered a roasted beet salad with burrata cheese at Herbsaint in New Orleans. Don't ask me why I ordered it; perhaps my culinary bravado was bolstered by a few glasses of Bordeaux. It was the perfect salad.
Beets have an impossible-to-describe earthy flavor. In the same way you can taste the sunshine that ripened a summer tomato, you can taste the dirt in which beets grow. I mean that in the best way possible. Since the epiphany in New Orleans, I've made a similar salad that fits as a starter for almost every meal.
Burrata cheese is a fresh, creamy cheese encased in mozzarella. It is sublime but a suitable substitute is any fresh chevre (goat cheese). The beauty of this salad is that the beets stain the cheese a vibrant, gorgeous fushia. I love to stack the slices of beets in between clumps of goat cheese and peppery leaves of lettuce.
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
3 fresh beets, washed, trimmed of stem and greens
salt and pepper
6 handfuls of mixed spring greens
6 ounces of fresh goat cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets in a large rectangle of aluminum foil, making sure to seal top carefully. Place foil package seal side up on oven rack and roast for 45 to 60 minutes. Rinse beets and scrub skins off with a paper towel (the skins will slip off easily). Cut beets into wedges and divide greens, goat cheese and beets on 6 plates.