Beets are kind of a polarizing vegetable. When I was little, something about them didn’t agree with me. Perhaps it was because the color, in my eyes, made them resemble the fruits of my nightmares, rather than the veg of my dreams. But in the last few years I’ve really come around. And in fall and winter, when sometimes they seem like the only thing besides potatoes and squash at the farmers’ market, they are all the more comforting as part of a warm, healthful salad.
A month or so back, I had a mind-blowing beet salad at Mile End in Brooklyn. It was served with crispy leeks and little pieces of fried chicken skin. Okay, so maybe “healthful” is not my primary concern when ordering a salad. But the combination was worth the 27-ish grams of fat.
Frying is a special-occasion technique in my kitchen, implemented only when a particularly naggy friend wants Manchurian Cauliflower on her birthday (cough cough, Jordana) or I’m jonesing for gluten-free Fried Calamari. So I decided to take a different route when recreating this dish at home. Instead of chicken skin, I used bacon, and instead of frying it stovetop, I used it to help make the leeks extra crispy in the oven. After a few minutes roasting together, the leeks begin to caramelize in the bacon fat, and the result is a rather rich smoky dressing for your beets.
It may not be the healthiest salad around, but it sure does hit the spot.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Roasted Beet Salad with Frizzled Leeks and Bacon
Makes 4 appetizer servings
You can roast the beets in advance or at the same time (at the median temp, 425 degrees). When you combine golden beets and regular beets in this way, the result is an awesome looking tie-dye. Check it out above!
2 pounds roasted beets, (mix golden and regular) skins removed
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 ounces bacon (about 8 strips), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Combine leeks with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet. Toss to combine. Arrange the bacon in an even layer on top of the leeks. Bake for 30 minutes, redistributing halfway through, until the leeks are cooked through and caramelized and the bacon is browned.
Toss the roasted beets with the remaining olive oil and the vinegar. Arrange on a serving plate or bowl, and top with the crispy leeks and bacon.
This post is part of Food Network’s Fall Fest! Check out the other great turnip dishes below.
Fall Fest is a season long, bi-weekly event where Food Network editors team up with bloggers to share tips and recipes about what’s available at the market. Here’s what else is cooking with apples today!
And Love It Too: Raw, Vegan and Sugar-Free Red Velvet Fudge
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Beet Salad With Crispy Leeks and Bacon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Beet Salad With Bacon Vinaigrette
Bay Area Foodie: Baked Beet Ravioli
Thursday Night Dinner: Roasted Beets and Walnut Encrusted Goat Cheese
What’s Gaby Cooking: Farro Beet and Herb Salad
My Angel’s Allergies: Roasted Beet and Potato Vinaigrette Salad
Cooking Channel: Garlicky Beet Salad With Walnuts and Dates
The Sensitive Epicure: Simply Sauteed Beets
FN Dish: Top 3 Beet Salad Recipes