The CIA (Culinary Institute of America), the world’s premier culinary college opened a branch here in San Antonio at the historic Pearl Brewery site. I’m thrilled at the opportunity to learn from some of their chefs, and recently I attended one of their Food Enthusiast classes. It was great fun, and one of the dishes prepared was this beet salad. It’s one of the best I’ve ever tasted with lots of different flavors and textures. While I LOVE beets, MM (Marlboro Man) and TBP (Teenage Bottomless Pit) will swear they hate them, and I’m not really sure either one has ever even tried them. I will say, though, that after tasting this salad, MM was pleasantly surprised at how GOOD it was! That’s quite an endorsement!
Beet Salad with Walnuts, Cilantro and Tomatoes
slightly adapted from The Culinary Institute of America Grilling
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 bunch fresh beets (mine came 3 to a bunch)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, more as needed to roast beets
- 1/2 cup thin-sliced red onion
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced small
- 2/3 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsley chopped
- 1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced (can use jalapeno for milder heat or omit altogether)
- salt and pepper as needed
Preheat oven to 375°.
Scrub beets under cold water, trim greens leaving 1 inch of the top and remove the root end. Lightly coat beets with olive oil, pierce a few times with a sharp knife and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on baking sheet and roast in the oven until cooked through, approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, peel and slice thinly or dice. (Wear gloves while working with beets…the juice will stain your hands!)
While beets are roasting, combine the red onions with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and let marinate in the refrigerator until the onions turn a bright pink about 20 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, the remaining 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, walnuts, cilantro, serrano pepper and marinated onions Add beets and toss gently. Let marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours before serving.