Admittedly, I have done very little cooking in the last week. This heat has inspired a diet of fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches, and frozen desserts. I’ve made eggs for breakfast, but once the sun really comes up I can’t be bothered to heat up the kitchen any more. Refusing to cook can be inspiration all its own, and salads do not have to be boring.
This week my Potter Hill CSA share was kale, perpetual spinach, salad turnips, baby beets, zucchini, summer squash, fresh onions, bok choy, basil, and parsley. If I can find a grill to make use of, this zucchini with pesto and beans is high on my list to make. If you could be bothered to roast sweet potatoes, these wraps are an excellent vegetarian main (and if you can’t be bothered, grated carrots or beets would be a fine substitute). My favorite everyday use for greens is to saute them to have with eggs and toast in the morning with a few dashes of hot sauce.
The revelation in this salad is there is no reason to cook your beets. Yes, when you roast them their sweet, earthiness is concentrated, but that is not always what I want from a beet. In fact I was anti-beet until I ate them raw and was able to appreciate their mildly sweet crunch. Young beets are especially great this way, and are an excellent addition to salads, wraps, and sandwiches.
Kale and Beet Salad with Pickled Onions, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Goat Cheese
These pickled onions are a great addition to sandwiches or potato salad (as in their inspiration recipe). I had a great intention to add nuts, but then forgot to do so while I was making it. Toasted pecans or almonds would be my pick. With baby beets I just wash them thoroughly and trim any stringy bits off the bottom, but don’t feel the need to peel them.
Serves 4 as side salads, or 2 as mains.
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 large fresh onion bulb, minced (about 1/2 a cup)
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
- 3 small beets, greens removed and reserved
- 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Measure white wine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a small jar (1/2 pint works great). Shake to dissolve the salt and sugar, then add the minced onion and let sit while you prepare everything else.
In a second jar (or the bottom of a large bowl, if you are going to mix and serve everything at once) combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Shake or whisk to combine.
Trim any stringy ends off the bottom of the beets, and then grate them on the largest holes of a box grater (or, you could cut them into matchsticks by hand or on a mandolin).
Assemble the salad by massaging the majority of the dressing into the kale with your hands (reserve a few tablespoons of dressing to drizzle on top) until the leaves are thoroughly coated and shiny. Top kale with grated beets, crumbled goat cheese, about 1/2 the pickled onions (see head note for other uses), and a final drizzle of dressing.