You know where's a good place to find recipes? The Williams Sonoma catalog. Honestly. I find all sorts of keepers in there. The gadgets that go with them—banana slicers and salad dressing emulsifiers—get a little ridiculous, but the recipes are terrific.
Take, for instance, the roasted beet salad recipe I tried the other day. The base ingredients are pretty standard—watercress, roasted beets, toasted walnuts, goat cheese—but the dressing is something else altogether. Basically you take lemon juice and a little bit of crème fraîche and add oil and shallots and a big handful of dill. The dairy makes it creamy, the lemon juice gives it kick, and the shallots and dill make it feel big and zippy. When you pour it over the greens and beets, a sort of magic happens, and everything feels at the same time rich and fresh.
We've made it about three times this week, and today, I'm thinking of having it for lunch again. It's just the thing for a hot day—filling but not heavy, satisfying in a very summer sort of way. Enjoy the sunshine, friends.
ROASTED BEET SALAD
I made a few changes to the Williams Sonoma original of this recipe. For starters, I used arugula and spinach from our garden in place of the watercress. I also added homemade croutons (rustic bread seared in olive oil on our cast iron griddle) and swapped out the crème fraîche for whole milk plain yogurt and Cloumage cheese.
(Cloumage, for those of you who have never had it, is the newest cheese from the Shy Brothers. It tastes sort of like a cross between ricotta and crème fraîche, and they sell it at the Provincetown and Falmouth farmers markets.)
Finally, I upped the dill. I don't know about you, but I can't get enough of that green.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 and 1/2 tablespoons Cloumage
2 and 1/2 tablespoons whole milk plain yogurt
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons minced shallot
salt and pepper
4 cups arugula or watercress
2 large beets, roasted, peeled, and cut into wedges (for a roasting tutorial, click here)
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
2 slices good rustic bread, toasted in olive oil in a cast iron skillet or griddle and cut into croutons
Combine the lemon juice, Cloumage, yogurt, olive oil, dill, shallot, and salt and pepper in a Mason jar or salad dressing container. Shake vigorously to emulsify and set aside.
You can plate the salads either individually or on a large shallow platter. Arrange the greens on the bottom, then layer on the roasted beet wedges, toasted walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, and homemade croutons. Drizzle with dressing and toss just before serving.