I'm going to keep this post short and sweet since there's still much unpacking to be done and I'm caught up in a seemingly never-ending battle between myself and the beginnings of a blackberry bramble that I'm trying to clear out of the single patch of soil in our front yard. All the blackberry shoots are pretty small, but the roots for the bramble go deep, so I think there used to be a large one that was cut back with the roots left intact, and anybody who has dealt with blackberries (or raspberries for that matter) growing in your garden, knows that once they make a home there it is very, very difficult to get them out. I'm going to rent a rototiller and see if that will chop up the roots enough to keep them from growing back, but if anyone has any blackberry bush removal tips I'd be much obliged!
But onto the salad, this is just something nice and light I put together for the end of spring/beginning of summer. If you've been growing pea shoots this spring, here is a wonderful way to put their leaves to use before the plant comes to the end of its growing season. If you don't have pea shoots around, endive or bibb lettuce will make a fine substitute, really any nice and light leafy green with a refreshing flavor will do. I also incorporated some radish blossoms off my dying radish plant, they added a bit of color and texture and a slightly bitter lettuce-like flavor as well.
The roasted beets, on the other hand, add a sweet and interesting textural element to the mix, since they get a bit crunchy around the edges when you roast them but stay nice and soft on the inside, almost like a baked yam. And of course, where there are beets there must be chèvre (aka goat cheese), because the two pair so magically well together. The result of this melange is a rich, sweet, crunchy, creamy and delicious salad, that manages to stay pretty healthy, too. Just the right kind of meal for when the weather starts to get hot and all you want is a light and refreshing bite.
Roasted Beet Salad with Pea Shoots & Chèvre
4 beets, peeled and cut into sixths
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup lightly packed pea shoots or chopped endive/bibb lettuce
1 tablespoon radish or arugula flowers (optional)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the beets lightly with the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper until coated. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until soft when poked with a fork and crispy around the edges. Remove from heat and set aside.
To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk all of the ingredients together until well blended and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Lightly toss the raw beets, roasted beets, pea shoots, arugula flowers, and chèvre together until mixed. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.