Roasted Beet, Caraway, and Crème Fraîche Salad with Arugula

Roasted Beet, Caraway, and Crème Fraîche Salad with Arugula

Most recipes for roasted beets call for cooking them still in their skins, then peeling after they’re soft and supple. But I prefer peeling first, then roasting.

This allows the beet flesh to take on a slight char, and it condenses their honeyed juices.

Plus, I find it easier to slip off their skins with a vegetable peeler while they are still quite firm, rather than maneuvering a paring knife over their slick, slippery flesh after they’re cooked (I’ve ruined many a T-shirt that way).

And, since you don’t have to wait for them to cool in order to peel them, you can toss the hot-from-the-oven beets directly into your waiting bowl of vinaigrette, which helps them absorb the maximum amount of dressing.

In this very colorful recipe, the roasted beets are paired with caraway-scented crème fraîche, arugula, and toasted nuts for crunch.

It’s a substantial salad that works as first course to a lighter dinner or as a side dish to grilled meats or pasta.

Thinking Ahead

Beets: You can roast the beets and toss them in the vinaigrette up to 1 week ahead; store, covered, in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before using.

Vinaigrette: You can make this up to 7 days in advance and refrigerate it in an airtight container. Bring it to room temperature and whisk it together before using.

Caraway crème fraîche: You can make the mixture and refrigerate it, covered, up to 8 hours in advance. Drain off any excess moisture before spreading it on the platter.

SERVES 6

Ingredients

2½ pounds beets, peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 cup (8 ounces) crème fraîche
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1 small garlic clove, finely grated or minced
3 cups (3 ounces) baby arugula, washed and dried
⅓ cup hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Heat the oven to 400°F.

Method

Prepare the beets: On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of the oil, the salt, and the pepper.

Roast until tender, 45 to 60 minutes, tossing them halfway through.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: In a large bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, mustard, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.

In a slow steady stream, whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until emulsified. Pour half of the vinaigrette into a medium bowl and set it aside.

In the large bowl, toss the warm beets with the remaining vinaigrette and let them cool.

Make the caraway crème fraîche: In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast the caraway seeds until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer them to a mortar and pestle and pound until coarsely crushed, or crush them on a cutting board with the flat side of a knife.

In a small bowl, stir together the crushed caraway, crème fraîche, dill, garlic, and a big pinch of salt.

Toss the arugula with the reserved vinaigrette in the medium bowl; if the mixture seems a bit dry, drizzle with a little more olive oil.

To serve, spread the caraway crème fraîche over the bottom of a large serving platter and mound the beets, and then the arugula, on top.

Scatter the hazelnuts over the arugula. Garnish with some dill and flaky sea salt, and finish with a drizzle of oil. Serve immediately.

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