Friends who read this blog have asked me how I have time to write. The truth is, with my small personal chef business and two boys under the age of four, I don’t have much time. Most posts take me the better part of a day to compose. I sit for 10 minutes here and there, take a picture while there is some daylight and then finish the post in the evening.
A few days ago, I started a post about entertaining. I wanted to share the recipe for this great beet salad and I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to throw a dinner party. My thought was that salads may seem daunting because they need to be done at the last minute (never a good thing when you have guests), but that in fact, especially with this salad, much of salad making can be done in advance.
As per usual when I get on a roll, the post grew and grew and I think I shared some solid advice. But because I was writing more than usual, it took me longer and the auto-save on Blogger stopped working. And then someone turned off our computer last night and the whole thing was lost.
Someday, I will re-create that post, but not today. Let’s just get right to the recipe. One word on it: if you are planning on having friends over for dinner and want to make a salad, this one is a great choice. I would double the almonds and save half of them to use as appetizers for another party.
Beet Salad with Candied Marcona Almonds
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
You can use a mixture of beets here, but I would roast them separately so the red color doesn’t bleed into the golden. Both marcona almonds and frisee are expensive ($5 a head!), so it is totally fine to use regular lettuce. By all means use the almonds – they are worth it.
2 pounds red or gold beets, scrubbed and trimmed
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup marcona almonds
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. minced shallots
1 small head frisee, torn into bite size pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large baking dish, toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into 1/2 inch wedges.
2. Meanwhile, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the 1 tbsp. of butter with the sugar, corn syrup, and a pinch each of salt and cayenne and bring to a boil, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Add the almonds and stir until evenly coated with the syrup. Scrape the almonds onto the parchment-lined baking sheet in an even layer. Bake with the beets for about 12 minutes, until golden and buggling. Let the nuts cool for about 25 mintues, then break into small clusters.
3. In a small saucpan, simmer the orange juice over moderate heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in vinegar, mustard, and shallots. Gradullay whisk in 1/2 cup of olive oil and season the dressing with salt. Add the beets and frisee and toss.
4. Transfer the salad to a platter or bowl. Garnish with the candied almonds, shave the pecorino on top and serve.
(The peeled, roasted beets and the dressing can be refrierated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving. The almonds can be made a week in advance, store in an airtight container at room temperature.)