Baby Beet Salad with Apples, Candied Walnuts, and Balsamic Reduction

Baby Beet Salad with Apples Candied Walnuts and Balsamic Gastrique at Crossroads by Chef Tal Ronnen, Executive Chef Scot Jones & Executive Pastry Chef Serafina Magnussen.

This recipe uses a mix of rainbow baby beets, not just the familiar red ones. Not only are golden and candy-stripe beets gorgeous, but each also adds its own flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 16 baby rainbow beets (golden, red, and candy stripe), about 3 bunches total, about 1½ inches in diameter, rinsed and tops trimmed
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • ¼ cup Balsamic Reduction (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup Candied Walnuts (recipe follows)
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup micro arugula
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

To prepare the beets:
  1. Pour 8 cups of filtered water into a medium pot and add the thyme, bay leaves, vinegar, agave, peppercorns, and salt. Add the beets and bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beets are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a paring knife into the center of a beet; it should slide in without any resistance.
  2. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding a tray of ice cubes. Drain the beets and transfer to the ice bath to cool.
  3. Once the beets are completely cool, drain them and rub off the skins with paper towels. If using red beets, it’s wise to wear rubber gloves and put a piece of wax paper on your cutting board so nothing gets stained red! Cut the beets in half or into quarters, depending on size.
  4. Put them in a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. (The beets can be prepared a day in advance, covered, and refrigerated.)
To prepare the apple:
  1. Remove the stem and halve the apple from top to bottom. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the apple lengthwise as thin as possible; cut each slice in half so you end up with half-moons. Trim the remaining core.
To serve:
  1. Dip a pastry brush in the balsamic reduction and paint a long stripe along the base of a platter or on each of four individual plates. Arrange the beets decoratively on top and nestle the apple slices in between them. Top the salad with the candied walnuts, dollops of the cheese, and the arugula. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

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