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Asparagus, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

At its peak in springtime, asparagus is tender enough to eat uncooked. Here, we toss slender ribbons of raw asparagus with a tangy citrus vinaigrette. The beets can be roasted and sliced up to two days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. You can also pick the whole-leaf herbs the day before, then wrap them in damp paper towels and refrigerate.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. beets, trimmed
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed,
     spears washed
  • 2 Tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbs. fresh chervil leaves
  • 4 oz. goat cheese (chèvre), crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400ºF.

Wash the beets thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Place the beets in a roasting pan, toss with the 2 Tbs. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until the beets are tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the beets cool to room temperature, then slip off the skins. Using a mandoline or a paring knife, cut the beets into thin slices. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the shallots, orange juice and lemon juice. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drizzle in the 1/4 cup oil, whisking constantly until blended. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the beet slices among 8 salad plates, overlapping them to form a ring. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the asparagus into long strips and place in a bowl. Add the parsley, chervil and the remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Mound the asparagus mixture on top of the beets, dividing it equally. Sprinkle the cheese around the asparagus and beets and garnish with the chives. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.