While I eat my fare share of salads all year around, they really shine when summer produce reaches its peak and I can choose from the bounty of sweet melons, heirloom tomatoes and an abundance of herbs at the market — often, a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper are all that’s needed to enhance their perfect flavors. When I hosted this bachelorette brunch at my house, I had a basketful of fresh cherries just begging to be the starring ingredient in a recipe, so I paired them with golden beets and goat cheese for one of my favorite salads ever. Keep reading for the recipe, and more photos by Wynn Myers…
The key to making and enjoying great salads is using the highest-quality in-season ingredients you can get your hands on, then combining those items to create a mix of sweet-tart-salty, crunchy-creamy…in other words: balanced flavors, interesting textures and brilliant color. So get creative, and use this salad recipe as a jumping off point for your own creation using whatever brilliant summer produce you have on hand.
Golden Beet & Cherry Salad with Honey-Ginger Vinaigrette
*serves 4 as a side dish
- 1 bunch golden beets
- 1 cup cherries
- 1 bunch radishes, shaved on a mandoline or sliced thinly
- 4 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 chives, snipped into small pieces, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 goat cheese crumbles
- coarse sea salt, like Maldon
for the honey-ginger vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- Trim and scrub beets clean, then wrap in a foil pouch and roast in a 425 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. You’ll know they’re ready when the tip of a knife can be easily inserted into the beet without any resistance. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
- Remove beets from fridge, and use a paper towel to rub the skin off the beets (it should slip right off.) Cut each beet into 6 wedges, then place into a serving bowl.
- Halve the cherries, then add to the bowl with the beets. Add radishes, arugula, mint, chives, and half of the goat cheese crumbles.
- Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the first 3 ingredients, then slowly whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the salad lightly with vinaigrette, then use your hands to gently toss everything together.
- Sprinkle the remainder of the goat cheese, chives and mint leaves on top, add a generous pinch of sea salt and a little more vinaigrette, and eat!
*photos by Wynn Myers