Taking a summer classic into fall


Roasted Beet Caprese

A caprese salad is one of my summer favourites, with the bright acidity of fresh tomatoes contrasting with luscious milky mozzarella and basil – quintessential Italian flavour at its finest. It’s so simple but can take a nosedive when tomatoes are even remotely out of season and they turn mealy and bland, losing that fresh-from-the-garden perfection.

Now that we’re heading into Fall, I thought of this idea for a different take on the caprese, with roasted beets instead of tomatoes. I used tarragon instead of basil here, but if you’re a purist basil actually goes really with beets.

I like using golden or yellow beets over the red variety – they’re much easier to work with and don’t have the same mess factor. If you do opt for red beets, keep a pair of rubber gloves handy to avoid staining your hands and cover any white surfaces – the last time I cooked red beets my kitchen looked like a murder scene from American Horror Story.

Roasted beets can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. Best to keep all ingredients chilled and assemble the salad just before serving.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 6 – 8 roasted golden beets (ideally the same size)
  • 3 – 4 rounds buffalo mozzarella
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Roasted Beets:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Rinse beets in cold water and trim the stem and root ends.
  3. Pat dry with a paper towel, then spray the beets lightly with cooking spray.
  4. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, 2 – 3 at a time, and place foil packets on a cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until the point of a knife pierces easily into the beets with no resistance. Let cool overnight.
  6. When cool, peel the beets with a sharp paring knife

Salad:

  1. Combine chopped tarragon, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper in a small bowl to make the dressing – set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, toss arugula in 1 tbsp dressing
  3. Slice beets and mozzarella into ¼-inch slices and arrange on a plate, overlapping slightly
  4. Spoon 1 tbsp dressing over each serving
  5. Garnish with dressed arugula and serve

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