Arugula Salad with Beets, Grapefruit, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic

Recently, I joined a CSA Program (TaylOrganic Farm, out of Ellenwood, GA).  I received my first fruit and veggie box yesterday. It felt like Christmas morning when I opened it up to see what treats I would find.  It held pecans, turnips, radishes, bok choi, oranges, grapefruit, braising greens, a winter squash, among other items.  Yesterday, I used the sweet potato in my chickpea stew.  Today I had a late lunch, so I decided to use arugula as the base of a nice, wintertime dinner salad.

I found out that I’d had Neil Taylor’s arugula before in a fabulous salad at the local Porter Beer Bar.  Their salad uses arugula, pickled beets, and goat cheese.  His arugula has a strong peppery flavor, which went well with creamy goat cheese.  I decided to steam fresh beets, then use grapefruit and a nice, aged balsamic to tie it all together.

For the beets, place about 1-inch of water into a large dutch oven, insert a steamer basket, then bring the water to a boil.  Place in the steamer basket:

  • beets, with greens trimmed

You don’t have to peel them.  I wanted them to cook a bit more quickly, so I cut them in half before adding to the steamer.  I only used one beet in my salad, but steamed three so I can eat the others tomorrow. With the beats cut in half it took about 25 minutes to steam.  Check the beets to see if they are done by sticking them with a fork or knife – they should be tender, but not soft.

Once the beets are cool enough to handle, the peel should easily slip off, then cut into small pieces.

Put together on a large plate:

  • arugula
  • grapefruit segments
  • steamed beets
  • about 1-oz goat cheese, in small pieces

Drizzle with:

  • A nice, aged balsamic vinegar – I used Lucini Gran Riserva, which I found at my local Publix

One note about the Balsamic – the flavors in this salad are all pretty strong (peppery arugula, tart grapefruit, tangy goat cheese, sweet beets). I didn’t want to use too much balsamic, but I wanted a really nice, sweet, high-quality one.  The Lucini brand is more expensive than what I would use in a vinaigrette ($13 for an 8.5 ounce bottle), but I just sprinkled it over the salad, using only a tablespoon or two.  It will also be great this summer with fresh tomatoes. Given how little it will take, I think the bottle will last a while and the expense should be worth it.

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