Oven-roasting beets (beetroot) really brings out their natural sweetness and when the pretty rainbow-colored beets are available, they make a lovely salad with toasted chopped hazelnuts, soft mild goat cheese and a zesty orange dressing.
You can prepare the hazelnuts and beets the day before and whereas this works with beets of any color, I think the golden ones look like a plateful of sunshine.
4 medium to large golden, pink or red beets, washed, trimmed and left unpeeled
4 oz (114g) of soft mild goat cheese, crumbled
2 oz (60g) of whole hazelnuts
Zest and juice of half an orange
2 tablespoons of toasted hazelnut oil
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
Place the washed beets on a large sheet of heavy duty foil (or a double layer of thin foil), bring the sides up and crimp, to create a slightly roomy sealed parcel. This allows air to circulate.
Put the parcel of beets in the oven on a baking tray for 45 minutes, then put the whole hazelnuts on another baking tray in the oven along with the beets. After 9-10 minutes take everything out of the oven and allow the beets to cool in the parcel.
Rub the skins off the hazelnuts with a soft cloth, or using my preferred method which is to swirl them around in a fine mesh metal strainer, over the sink. You don’t need to get all the skin off, just most of it.
Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and set them aside.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and trim any lingering threads. Slice each beet into 4 or six pieces and arrange on individual plates.
Whisk the OJ, zest, vinegar, hazelnut oil together and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, scatter the crumbled goat cheese over the beets, followed by some toasted chopped hazelnuts, a drizzle of dressing and a sprinkle of chopped parsley to finish.