Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Golden Beet-Avocado Salad

A few weeks ago I wrote about Montmartre, a great little French restaurant I found in D.C. It was the sort of neighborhood bistro that you might find in France, with several tables of folks speaking French (always a good sign).

I ordered gazpacho and a salad. The gazpacho was delicious but I really loved the salad. I spoke to the server, Anne, who gave me a little hint as to how it was prepared. It was composed of roasted yellow beets, grape tomatoes, red onion and avocado. It was a very felicitous combination, and I couldn’t wait to make it at home.

Anne said they rubbed the beets with olive oil and roasted them. I’ve always wrapped beets in foil to roast, but found that this method sort of concentrated the natural sweetness of the golden beets.

They sprinkled it with a mixture of chopped fresh herbs; I used cilantro with equal success. And they used grape tomatoes, but in this season, good farmers’ market or home-grown tomatoes would be perfect.

Because of the lemon juice in the dressing, you can keep this for a day or two without having khaki colored avocado. This will make a great side dish to any of your grilled dinners this summer.


Juice and finely grated zest of 2 lemons
¼ cup good fruity olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ripe but still firm avocados, peeled and cubed
3 golden beets, roasted, peeled and cubed (see note)
¼ cup slivered red onion
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (or 2 cups diced tomato)
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup minced cilantro, plus a couple of sprigs to garnish

Whisk the lemon juice and zest with the olive oil in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining ingredients and toss just until combined. Let rest for an hour or so for flavors to meld. Serve garnished with additional cilantro sprigs. Serves 6 or so as a side dish.

NOTE: Golden beets are available at Fresh Market. Cut off tops, leaving 1" of stems. Rub with olive oil, put on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Check to see if a small pointy knife can penetrate easily. If not, roast until it can. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then peel and cube.

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