I had some strange eating habits as a kid.
Cereal without milk.
Macaroni without cheese.
Salad without dressing.
Today I still don't drink milk, but I have started to eat cereal with yogurt. I've discovered that macaroni and cheese can be delicious when its homemade.
And I've even come to appreciate that extra touch that dressing can add to salad.
This salad is a perfect example. It needs the dressing to pull it all together, to balance out the bites where there's no beets or hazelnuts. It's a light dressing, and it just barely covers the lettuce and the beets.
While the dressing is delightful, the beets are the real start of this salad. Look for the red and the gold. Not only do they add a beautiful color contrast (if you don't store them together like I did so the colors bleed!) to the salad, I found they tasted different too, with the golden beets being a bit sweeter.
Roasted Beet Salad with Hazelnuts
recipe adapted from The Gourmet Corner
4 small gold beets
4 small red beets
2/3 cup whole skinless hazelnuts
8 cups lettuce torn into pieces (I used a combination of butter lettuce and green leaf lettuce)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons mustard
1 small shallot, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast beets: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beats well and then wrap them individually in foil. Place them on a cookie sheet. Cook them undisturbed for 45 to 55 minutes, until a thin knife pierces one with little resistance. Remove from the oven. Allow the beets to cool, and then peel them.
Prepare hazelnuts: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toast the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once in between. Allow the hazelnuts to cool for a few minutes, and then rub them back and forth against the pan. The skins will begin to come off. Pick them up and them them together in your hands if any skins remain.
Cut the beets into 1/2-inch dice. Keep the gold and red beets in separate bowls so the colors do not bleed.
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing.
In separate bowls, combine the gold and red beets with 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing. Distribute the beets over the lettuce a few at time, so the salad ends up with an even mix of gold and red beets.
Pour the remaining dressing over the salads, and then top with the chopped hazelnuts.