M. Andrew Gordon

Building a better beet salad…with bacon

In Appetizers, Side Dishes on March 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

This salad combines so many things I love: beets, bacon, smoked cheese, maple syrup, peppery greens.  Salads don’t have to be complicated at all and often I like things simple, say, watercress with some thinly sliced red onion and a simple vinaigrette.  But this salad is, comparatively, a bear to make, if only because it requires roasting of the beets and the baby artichokes.  But the results are worth it.

Baby artichokes have one real advantage over their larger brethren – they can be eaten whole.  Of course, you can’t eat them whole as you buy them.  To prepare baby artichokes to cook, peel off the outer leaves until you have revealed the light green and soft leaves inside.  Trim the stem end and slice the tips off the leaves. At this point, the artichokes either need to be cooked or rubbed with lemon juice as they will brown very quickly.  If you thought apples browned quickly, you haven’t seen anything yet.

  • 6 baby artichokes, trimmed (see above) and cut in half lengthwise
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 5-6 smallish candy cane beets, washed and scrubbed
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 ounces smoky bacon, diced
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons thyme
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 3 scallions, greens cut into ½ inch pieces, white ends reserved for another use
  • 4 ounces smoked mozzarella, finely chopped
  1. Trim artichokes and slice, placing in bowl with lemon juice.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place each beet on a piece of foil and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil each.  Wrap each beet in its foil and place in oven.  Roast for 1 hour, 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and as soon as the foil is cool enough to touch, unwrap and let beets cool.
  3. Drain artichokes, reserving lemon juice.  Place artichokes in small roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the stem end of the choke is tender.
  4. In skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat.  When browned and crisped, drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Cut cooled. beets into eighths.  In large bowl, combine reserved lemon juice, syrup, vinegar, and thyme.  Whisking, drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, mixing completely.  Add arugula and toss well.  Add beets and toss again.
  6. Mound arugula and beets onto plates.  Top with artichokes, and sprinkle scallions, mozzarella, and bacon over salads.
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