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Summer salad: Roasted beets with goat cheese

Chef Julian Clauss-Ehlers' Roasted Beets and Goat CheeseProvided

Summer is more or less here, depending on the week. And as great as it’s been to change from soups and roasts to lighter fare, most of us need something more than a bowl of lettuce to get by. Spring brought with it a whole new collage of root vegetables, especially beets, that make for an easy transition.

At the new Trattoria Biancarestaurant near Penn Station, executive chef Julian Clauss-Ehlers is serving a roasted beet and goat cheese dish that just bursts with freshness. “The creamy texture of the goat cheese complements the earthy flavors of the beets — it's a classic combination!” he tells us.

Beets can be a hard sell though, with many home cooks either serving them raw, or sugared and pulverized beyond recognition. But Clauss-Ehlers’s recipe calls for gently baking the beetroot, which “keeps it tender and helps keep the shape,” he explains.

Eat beets now, while they’re in season, to get the most flavor out of the heart health-boosting veggie, which also has potassium for your muscles and antioxidants.

Ingredients for the beets:

3 large red beets, peeled and sliced very thin
zest and juice of one orange
zest and juice of one lemon
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 sprig fresh thyme

Directions:Carefully mix all ingredients, including the beets. Place everything in a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and cook in the oven at 300 degrees until the beets are soft, about 1 to 2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Ingredients for the cheese:

8 oz. creamy goat cheese, lightly whipped
1 fennel bulb, finely shaved
1 pear, cut into fine strips
1⁄4 cup whole pistachios, lightly roasted and chopped
Handful baby arugula
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Directions:In a salad bowl add the arugula, fennel, half the goat cheese, half the pistachios and half the pear. Lightly season with salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar, then lightly toss.

Spread the remaining goat cheese in the middle of four 10-inch plates. Cover the goat cheese with three slices of beet. Divide the mixed salad onto the center of each plate, then lay the sliced beet around the outside.

Top the salad with the remaining pear strips and finish with fronds of fennel, sprinkle the rest of the pistachios around the plate and drizzle the beets with a little olive oil. Serves four.

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