Summer Beet Salad

I like to use a mandolin for slicing these beets paper-thin. Or feel free to practice your Jiro-worthy knife skills and slice by hand, aiming to keep the slivers as thin as possible (I shoot for at least 1/8th of an inch). This helps the raw beets tenderize and absorb the dressing. Small to medium beets are best, here, as larger ones can be woodier towards the center. One last note: red beets bleed, so if you’re using a mix, peel and slice the red beets after the lighter-hued ones to keep the colors bright.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 5 small to medium beets (about 1 pound), peeled (I use a mix of red, golden and/or Chiogga)
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed tender herbs such as parsley, chives and/or basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone (or sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Steps

Step 1

If using a mix of colors, separate the red beet(s) from the golden and/or Chiogga beets. Using a knife or a mandolin, thinly slice the lighter-hued beets; add to a medium bowl.

Step 2

Thinly slice the red beets; add to a separate medium bowl. Whisk vinegar, oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Divide dressing between the separated beets; toss to coat. (If you’re not concerned about colors bleeding, or all of your beets have the same shade, no need to separate; whisk dressing in the bottom of a medium bowl, add all of the beets and toss to coat.)

Step 3

Mix mascarpone (or sour cream) with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Thin with cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until drizzly yet thick, like melted ice cream.

Step 4

Layer beets on a serving platter. Pour any remaining dressing from the bowl that held the lighter beets over the top. Drizzle with thinned cream. Scatter with chopped hazelnuts, herbs, and a few grinds of black pepper to taste.

photo by H.B. Wilcox Photography