For the first two-thirds of my life the only beets I could bear were those of the Doug Funny variety. Luckily, later in life, I came to appreciate the vegetable variety as well.
The only time I really eat beets is when I am having pickled beet eggs or a beet salad — the salad being my preference.
I have grown to love beet salads and always order them whenever I see them on a menu.
More often than not, a beet salad consists of beets (surprise!), goat or blue cheese, a variety of nut, red onion, lettuce and balsamic vinaigrette. Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of other variations, but when you’re out to eat, you will probably see some variation of what I just mentioned.
This past weekend I made a beet salad of my own, but with a bit of a twist: beet salad with goat cheese fritters & candied walnuts!
Fresh goat cheese would have been fine and well in this salad; in fact, if I am strapped for time or opting to be a little healthier, I’ll skip frying the cheese.
But seriously — fried goad cheese — do you really need me to convince you that this is a
good great idea? I will take that as a no : )
Normally, I would use panko bread crumbs for the breading, but I didn’t realize I was out of it until I started to make the salad!! Lucky for me, I had some leftover dinner rolls… I grabbed one and pulsed it in a food processor a few times to make fresh bread crumbs — love me some improvisation!
I have to warn you that I found it difficult to restrain myself from eating all these cheesy-fried-morsels before assembling the salad. The only solution was to cheat a little…so I had a couple (or four)….but then had to stop, or the beet salad’s potential of extraordinary would quickly downgrade to ordinary.
As for the candied walnuts, if you can’t find them in the grocery store, then you can simply heat some granulated sugar on the stove until it melts and turns a light amber color. Once it reaches that point, just add some toasted walnuts, stir until evenly coated, and spread the candied walnuts out on silpat or parchment paper until cooled and hardened. Voila! Candied walnuts.
I would have added some red onion or shallot to the salad, but the shallot I had went bad, so I had forgo that this time (womp womp).
Anyway, this is a great salad for any time of the year and can be enjoyed as a starter or a main dish. The crispy goat cheese fritters, sweet candied walnuts, earthy beets and tangy balsamic vinaigrette make for a memorable salad that you’ll want to enjoy time and again.
Here’s the recipe!