In California we're lucky enough to have fresh beets year-round: they're a pretty sturdy crop, and aren't afraid of a little heat or a little cold.
But beets do lend themselves to warm salads, making them perfect for adding a little color to your winter table. Go for all red beets if that's all you can find, but do search for golden and striped varieties for a little more visual interest and even some very subtle differences in flavor.
Micah Wexler, chef at Mezze in West Hollywood has paired the veggies here with halloumi, a goat and sheep's milk cheese that doesn't melt when cooked. It was first made in Cyprus and is popular primarily in the Middle East -- but cooks in every culture are beginning to see its culinary beauty.
Roasted Beet Salad with Halloumi
Serves 3-4 as a side dish
3 baby red beets
3 baby gold beets
3 baby striped beets
1 block halloumi cheese
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 tbsp dried mint
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Trim the beets of their leaves and stems. Place each type of beet in a separate foil packet with 1 tbsp EVOO, 1 tsp sherry vinegar, and some salt. Place the three packets on a roasting pan and roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender.
Remove beets from oven and allow to cool. Using a dish towel, rub the beets to remove the skin and discard the skin. (Please use a towel you don't care about - the beet juice WILL stain it.) Cut the beets in halves and marinate in a quarter cup of EVOO and 2 tbsp sherry vinegar.
Cut the halloumi into cubes and fry in a pan with oil until golden. Mix the yogurt with the lemon juice, dried mint, salt, and a quarter cup of EVOO.
To dress, place the marinated beets in a bowl, and garnish with the yogurt dressing and fried halloumi.
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