I have yet to serve this salad to someone who didn't like it...and that includes people who say they are not in love with beets. My father, being the product of an Ivy League education, adored Harvard Beets. It was one of the first recipes I ever posted on this blog. My children, unfortunately, gag on them so I have to devise all kinds of tricks to serve them at home. Chopped in salads is one way, although I've often found them in a neat little pile at the bottom of the bowl hidden under some lettuce. This has been by far the most successful way and I am no fool to believe it is the beets they are after and not the goat cheese!
A few years ago beets and goat cheese started appearing in fancy restaurants as an appetizer, often served on a bed of arugula with chopped walnuts sprinkled on top. You can also stack the beets and spread goat cheese in between the slices for a very fancy presentation. I think this was Wolfgang Puck's idea, one he often served at his catered parties. Very dramatic and very good.
Whatever you do, don't use canned beets. There is nothing like fresh ones and the difference is a big one.
•1 bunch of beets (3 large), any garden variety
•1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
•1/4 oz. chèvre, crumbled
•Olive oil & Vinegar
•Sea salt or kosher salt
Discard top leaves and drop beets in boiling water. Cook for about 1 hr or until done. With a fork pierce them and test for doneness.
Transfer them to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them sit for about 30 minutes until cool enough to peel..
Cut beets in slices or large chunks.
Stack mint leaves on top of each other and chiffonade them by rolling lengthwise like a cigarette and slicing into thin ribbons. Discard the stems.
Place the beets in the refrigerator until cold.
Using a fork, crumble a small amount of chèvre into a small bowl or plate and set aside.
Sprinkle mint onto the beets and stir, leaving a few ribbons for garnish. Add olive oil and vinegar to taste (i use 1 part vinegar, 3 parts olive oil). Adjust salt to taste. Transfer beets to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chèvre and remaining mint. Serve immediately.
You can serve on a bed of arugula and/or sprinkle walnuts on top.
Photo: Food Network