Beet salad suits the season

Vegetables: Steamed beets lend their rich color and subtle sweetness to a salad of crisp greens dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette.

January 30, 2000|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Long before there were climate-controlled crispers, the root cellar kept the kitchen supplied with fresh vegetables during the cold months. Carrots, beets and other edible roots are still good keepers, staying crisp and sweet for weeks if properly stored. Shredded or diced for salads, their fresh color and flavor brighten winter meals.

In this recipe, the earthy sweetness of the beets balances the slight bitterness of the endive and the tang of the vinaigrette. This dressing is thicker than most vinaigrettes. Instead of Dijon, you could substitute a grainy mustard or one flavored with herbs or green peppercorns.

Beet Salad with Belgian Endive and Pecans

Serves 6

5 small beets (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter)

3/4 pound Belgian endive

Thick Mustard Vinaigrette (see below)

12 leaves romaine lettuce, washed and thoroughly dried, cut in 1/2 -inch strips

salt and pepper

1/2 cup pecan pieces

Bring at least 1 inch of water to a boil in base of steamer. Boiling water should not touch the bottom of the steamer.

Rinse beets; trim tops to 1 inch. Place beets over boiling water in steamer. Cover tightly and steam over high heat, adding boiling water occasionally as needed, until beets are tender (about 50 minutes).

Remove beets and let cool. Peel beets under cold running water.

Wipe endive; trim bases. Cut leaves in thin slices crosswise. In medium bowl, combine endive with vinaigrette and toss. Marinate for 5 minutes.

Just before serving, dice beets; add to endive mixture. Add strips of romaine; toss gently. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle with pecans and serve.

Thick Mustard Vinaigrette

Makes about 1/2 cup

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper

Gradually add olive oil in a fine stream, whisking constantly until dressing is the consistency of mayonnaise.

Taste; adjust seasoning, if needed.

Dressing can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week. Whisk again just before using.

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