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ROASTED BEET SALAD WITH PICKLED RADISH, HAZELNUTS & TRUFFLE OIL

This roasted beet salad with pickled watermelon radish, toasted hazelnuts & truffle oil is nothing short of divine.  It's as pleasing to the eye as it is to the tastebuds and offers a beautiful addition to almost any holiday table.  Truffle oil is expensive, but a little goes a long way and it lasts a long time in the pantry.   A small amount is sufficient to deliver the unique savory essence of truffle to pastas, salads, rice and potatoes.   Experiment!  We did with beets -- we hope you enjoy the result.

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Ingredients

Pickled Radish

  • 10 watermelon radishes, trimmed and sliced thinly
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Roasted Beets

  • 1-1/2 pounds of beets of any color, ~6 large beets.  We like to use a combination of sizes and colors in this salad
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted skin-off
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, coarsely chopped

Instructions

Pickle the radishes.  Slice watermelon radish using a mandoline into 1/8" slices.  Combine first 3  pickling ingredients in a clean 1 quart glass jar. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar. Cover; shake until sugar and salt begin to dissolve.  Can be made 1 month ahead. (The flavor mellows the longer the mixture pickles.)  Keep chilled.

Roast the beets.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Do not peel or pierce the beets.   If the beets came with their greens, trim to within 1/2 inch of the beets and reserve for another use.

Put the beets in a roasting pan.   Add the spices, thyme and 1/4 cup of wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt and 3/4 inch boiling water.  Bake until a fork pierces the beets easily.   This usually takes about 1.5 hours.  Set aside to cool.  Peel the beets; the skin should slip off easily.  

Assemble the salad.  Cut the beets into wedges, or using a mandoline, cut into 1/4" slices to achieve the above look.   Toss the beets with olive oil and 1 Tbsp of red wine vinegar.  Layer beets with the pickled radishes into a single layer.  Drizzle truffle oil on top.   Continue this process of layering the beets and radishes, accenting with truffle oil.   Top off with  chopped hazelnuts and roughly chopped parsley.

Tip for removing skins from hazelnuts:  Toast hazelnuts at 400° for 10 minutes until nuts are golden brown and skin appears to have cracked open.   Remove hazelnuts from oven and let cool for 1 minute.   Using paper towels, rub the warm hazelnuts between your hands aggressively to remove the skin.