My hands are bloodied from the beets and I'm sure my white countertop will never come back from this mess. They go into the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. They aren't allowed to come out of the oven until they are caramelized and delicious.
The swiss chard is cut into thin slices - a chiffonade - which is essentially the technique to get nice thin ribbons of swiss chard. Not only does it look great this way in thin little strips, but it makes it easier to eat for those who aren't quite used to the slight bitterness of raw swiss chard.
Next up, some spices go into the pan to warm up and release their aromatics. When I get that first whiff of smell from the spices, the walnuts go into the pan. A quick toss and then I hit them with a splash of sesame oil. Mmmmmmmm......
To get the most out of this dark salad, I mix up a dark vinaigrette. Dark balsamic vinegar is the only option for me here. I pour the balsamic into a small pan and let it thicken up over low heat for a few minutes. This brings out the sweetness and richness of the vinegar and will make my dressing super delicious. The thickened balsamic is whisked up with olive oil, salt and pepper. Simply simple. Simply good.
Into a large bowl it all goes; warm roasted beets, shaved radishes and dark swiss chard, tossed in a reduced balsamic vinaigrette. Now to top this off with some spicy walnuts and you've got yourself a damn good salad!
1 bunch swiss chard, bottom thick stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced
5 medium sized beets, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5 radishes, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper
1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. On a foil lined baking tray, add the cubed beets and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until beets are lightly browned.
2) In a small saute pan over low heat, add the cumin, chili powder, and sumac. Let it warm up in the pan (not burn!). When you start to smell the aromatics of the spices, add the walnuts and toss in the spices. Add the sesame oil and toss well for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
3) To make the dressing: in a small pan over low-medium heat, add the balsamic vinegar and leave to reduce for about 5 minutes. The balsamic should reduce by about half and thicken up slightly. You still want it to be runny, not thick. It is ready when it coats the back of a spoon. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
4) In a small bowl, whisk together the reduced balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
5) In a large bowl, toss together the roasted beets, swiss chard, shaved radishes. Add dressing and mix well.
6) Garnish with spiced walnuts.