Yield: 4 salads
8 medium beets — red, golden or white
2 medium red onions, peeled and cut in julienne strips
¾ cup of 5 percent red wine vinegar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup grade-A maple syrup
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup canola oil
4-ounce log of goat cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups arugula
1 cup beet microgreens
¼ cup pepitas, toasted and salted
Notes: Roast the beets first before you begin the preparation. If you want the beets to retain color, roast each color on a separate baking dish, otherwise the red color bleeds into the light colors. Edibles & Essentials uses an oven-roasted method that steams the beets as well to keep them juicy. We give their directions in the instructions, however, you may use your favorite method of roasting for this step if you choose.
• There are three separate preparations — pickled red onions, maple vinaigrette and goat cheese fritters — that are made before this salad is composed on serving plates.
• Pickled red onions can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks. Store any leftover vinaigrette in the refrigerator as well.
• Pepitas are small plump pumpkin seeds with no shells. They occur in certain pumpkins. They are available toasted and salted in bulk departments of better grocers or you can toast your own on a flat baking sheet placed in a 350-degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes, removed from the oven and salted when hot.
1. To roast the beets, preheat the oven to 350, 325 for glass pans. Cut off the beet greens leaving 2 to 3 inches attached to the beets. Do not trim the root and don’t peel. Wash the beets under cold running water and arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle beets generously with water, then add water to a depth of 1/8-inch.
2. Cover the baking sheet tightly with commercial plastic wrap, tucking in all the edges under the rim of the sheet. Next, cover the entire baking sheet tightly with aluminum foil, wrapping the edges completely and tightly over the foil. If desired, you can eliminate the plastic wrap and tightly cover with aluminum foil only.
3. Place beets in the oven and cook for 30 minutes to an hour. The cook time for beets ranges widely depending on size and variety. They are done when a toothpick slides into the center easily. Remove from oven and let cool when done. When cool, cut the beets into 1-inch pieces.
4. To make the pickled onions, place the julienned onions in a deep mixing heat-proof bowl.
5. Combine the red wine vinegar and granulated sugar in a 2- or 3-quart nonreactive pot. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the vinegar liquid over the julienned onions, stir and set aside.
6. To make the maple vinaigrette, combine the maple syrup, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and sea salt in a deep mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, stream the canola oil into the maple syrup mixture to emulsify the dressing.
7. To make the goat cheese fritters, divide the goat cheese log into 4 pieces. Break the egg into a shallow bowl and mix the milk into it with a fork, using a whisking motion. Place the flour and the seasoned bread crumbs in two shallow bowls.
8. Shape the goat cheese pieces into patties in a fritter shape, coat them first in the flour, then roll in the egg wash and lastly roll in the bread crumbs.
9. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium until a drop of water flicked onto the surface skitters. Pan fry on all sides and remove to paper towels to drain.
10. To plate the salads, divide the beets in quarters and arrange on 4 salad plates in a ring. Add ½ cup arugula to the center of each ring, then top each with equal amounts of the microgreens. Sprinkle with toasted pepitas. Top with 8 to 10 straws of pickled red onion and goat cheese fritter. Dress with maple vinaigrette and serve.