As I look out past the terrace this evening — down into the Green River Valley— bright orange, gold, rust and red flashes pepper the the nearby hillside and mountains beyond. There’s no denying it now… All of nature’s signs point toward autumn. But for tonight at least, fair weather reigns supreme. The air is still warm, and the French doors stand wide open; welcoming a gentle southern breeze. It’s September 19th, and though it seems hard to believe — watching the sun as it sets, flickering across the white birch trees, luminous against low, grey clouds — I know that another summer is drawing to a close.
All along the meadow, the flame grass (Miscanthus purpurascens) has begun to glow; striking a fashionable pose beside the fiery-red viburnum (V. plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Shasta’) and the blue shadow of distant mountains to the north. Even the potager has become a virtual kaleidoscope of color these days; rich with purple and gold tinted beets, brilliant red peppers, bright-orange pumpkins and wildly-striped winter squash. Harvest season is upon us. It’s time for apple cider, oven-roasted vegetables, and smores by the fire…
On tonight’s menu: oven-roasted red and gold beets. Delightfully sweet and pretty as gemstones, I like them served warm; artfully arranged atop a salad of arugula, with a sprinkling of goat cheese and a bit of reduced, balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. This beautiful and delicious salad is based on a recipe from a favorite local restaurant —sadly closed since this post was first published— where I once enjoyed meeting up with friends for a glass of wine and tapas. And speaking of libations, I think my friend Jonathan —cocktail-wizard supreme— would agree that a nice, dry prosecco is the perfect compliment to this warm and wonderful, harvest-season salad. Enjoy!
Roast Beet and Fresh Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Glaze
Ingredients (serves 6 as a side dish):
3 Large red beets
3 Large golden beets
8 Ounces crumbled goat cheese +/- (or if using sliced goat cheese, as served at Alici’s, use 12 oz round)
3 Cups washed, small, tender leaves of arugula (you may substitute mesclun or any baby greens)
3 Teaspoons champagne vinegar
3 Teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar glaze (reduced balsamic vinegar)*
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Set in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Roast for one hour.
In meantime, whisk together the champagne vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss together with the arugula and arrange on a serving platter. Set aside.
After one hour, remove the beets from oven and check with a fork for doneness. If tender when prodded with a fork, allow beets to cool in the pan atop the stove, still covered with the foil, for 15-20 minutes. Open the the foil and cool for a five more minutes, then peel and slice the beets into 1/4 inch rounds. Arrange beets on the platter, atop the arugula. Crumble goat cheese on top of the beets and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve warm with a chilled, dry prosecco.
*Balsamic glaze can be purchased in finer grocery stores, or make your own by reducing balsamic vinegar yourself. Pour 2 cups of balsamic vinegar into a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the liquid thickens to the consistency of molasses ( 1/5 the original volume), remove from the heat to cool. This glaze is delicious over roasted beets, salads, breads and many other foods.
Article and photographs ⓒ 2010 Michaela at TGE
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