Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

I set myself a challenge. Every season there would be a salad on the menu, but it needed to be a composed salad, not a tossed green salad. I was really keen to make a beet salad with goat cheese this fall. It’s a fine line between classic and clichéd, so I wanted to make it in a way that I hadn’t done before.

A colourful beet salad with goat cheese, mint, cherries, and hazelnuts.

I was really struck by the Beet Salad with Chèvre Frais in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook. Most of all I liked the presentation, with perfect rounds of sliced roasted beets arranged on the plate, and pops of colour and texture placed artfully around and among them. I played with this a lot over the summer. At right you can see a rather more rustic version with colourful beets, crumbled goat cheese, sour cherries, mint, and hazelnuts.

In the end I used quite a few ideas from the EMP beet salad: the cooking method for the beets, the goat cheese mousse using a whipping siphon, and the general presentation of the dish. I changed the other components quite a bit. EMP had rye tuiles and dill. I used pear, endive, hazelnut, and tarragon.

For this autumn/winter version I also narrowed the colour palette, using only red beets and selecting Anjou pears, Belgian endive, and light tarragon oil that all had the same shade of light yellow/green.

The dressing is based on beet juice and cider vinegar, thickened with a bit of xanthan, and then finished with tarragon oil made using the French Laundry herb oil method described in this post.

Beet Salad – goat cheese, pear, endive, hazelnut, tarragon.

A winter beet salad with goat cheese, endive, pear, hazelnut, and tarragon.