Beet salad with walnuts and herbs
This is a simple salad to prepare — especially if you can find pre-cooked beets, as they are sold at markets in France. Elsewhere, plan to start early to give yourself time to cook the beets and allow them to cool. This can be done a day ahead of time.
For best results, use very fresh walnuts and grind them yourself. If at all possible, make the salad a couple of hours before you plan to serve it in order to allow the flavors to blend.
This salad works well as a starter, on its own or accompanied by another salad or two — for example, green bean salad with walnuts or arugula salad with balsamic vinegar. It can be paired as a lunch dish with a savory tart like red onion tart or wild mushroom tart. As a side dish, it marries well with roast meat or poultry, or pan-seared fish.
1 large beet or 2 medium beets
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp. freshly ground walnuts (about 1/2 ounce, or 20 grams)
1/8 tsp. salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
If starting with raw beets, rinse them off and boil them until tender. Do not remove the peels before cooking. Drain and allow to cool.
Slice off the ends of the cooked beets and slip off the peel, using a very sharp paring knife to remove any bits of peel that stick.
Grate the beets onto a plate using the larger holes of your grater. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Stir. Finely mince the garlic, add and stir.
Grind the walnuts to a medium-fine consistency. Set aside one teaspoonful for decoration. Add the rest to the salad and stir.
Season with salt and and grind in some black pepper. Add the chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
Refrigerate for two hours or more. When ready to serve, transfer to a clean serving dish. Decorate with the reserved ground walnuts and a sprig of fresh cilantro. Serves 2.