Monday, February 21, 2011

BC Beet Salad Knock Off

I can't praise Pullman's own Black Cypress enough. Although they opened just over a year ago, they have become my very favorite place to eat in this horrible food wasteland that is the Palouse. Before they came along, I was forced to eat "fancy" food that was glorified fast food, and not to be too gross here, but when you eat somewhere and every burp has the same note, you know it ain't good. Black Cypress has never disappointed me, and when I have family in town, dinner there is the first item on my visitor agenda.

My favorite dish at BC is a rather simply dressed, fresh, and flavorful salad that combines the earthy sweetness of beets with the salty, pungent delight of blue cheese, so I decided to try a homemade version. Despite all my best efforts, this dish is still one best served in their dining room, but I think I came pretty darn close. If you're in the area, try the Turnip the Beets salad, even if you aren't a fan of beets. It has the capacity to make the worst enemy of beets a relative worshipper.

Fresh Beet Salad

3 medium beets, unpeeled
1/8 cup olive oil
4 tbsp. champagne vinegar*
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. blue cheese, Gorgonzola, or other pungent cheese
1 tbsp. crushed pistachios
1 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley


1. Cover beets in a large pot with cold water and boil until soft, around 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, you can steam them in a steamer for around 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, skins should easily peel off.** (See note)

2. Slice beets into bite size pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, champagne vinegar, and lemon juice to beets, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour (the longer the better).

3. Once chilled, distribute beets onto a serving platter and sprinkle with blue cheese, pistachios, and chopped Italian parsley. Serve.

*Note: I used champagne vinegar infused with lemon already, so I simply increased the amount of champagne vinegar and it turned out the same as when I used vinegar and lemon juice. I'm guessing apple cider vinegar would work well in this recipe as well, given its natural tart yet fruity notes.

Beets stain skin pretty easily, so I advise wearing kitchen gloves when handling them. If you don't wear gloves (I didn't have any on hand once), rub your skin with the half of a lemon, preferably the one you juiced for the beet dressing.

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