A trip to our local farmers market has become somewhat of a Saturday norm. Rain or shine we are always sure to get there early, before the flocks gather and queues form at market stalls. The energizing beat of djembes hums in the background as we head straight to the bread stall, the egg guy, the blueberry grower and our favourite veggie farmer. We waste no time, we know what we want buying nearly all of our groceries for the week, whatever is in season. What we cannot find at the market, we pick up at our favourite organic groceteria as we make our way home.
In my mind, this time of year is the most exciting as far as farmers markets go. The summer’s bounty is still abundant, while fall’s harvest hovers in the air. Garlic braids adorned with flowers sit on vendors tables and last of the summer’s multicoloured tomatoes sit piled in pints ready for the eating.
Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a good salad. I love that a salad can be so versatile, from a grain or legume base to a cabbage coleslaw. When it comes to a leafy salad, you will rarely find me eating a head of lettuce (unless it’s buttercrunch lettuce which is in a category of its own). It’s the arugula and other mustard greens that truly steal my heart with their bold flavour and often intense heat. With veggie goodness nearly overflowing from our fridge, I wanted create something that did them justice. To me this turned out to be more than a salad. Arugula and beets over a bed of caramelized onions, it is sure to stimulate all senses with its well-balanced flavour and delightful texture.
(I believe that everyone should grow their own salad. Creating a salad mix is so much easier than one might think. A post to come on that in the near future!)
Arugula Beet Salad
- 2 medium-sized beets
- 2 onions, sliced into half moons
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil + more to drizzle over salad
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. white or red wine vinegar
- 4 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted/skins removed*/roughly chopped
- Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved over salad
*toast hazelnuts, wrap in kitchen towel and rub vigorously to separate skin from nuts
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut tops off beets and rinse. Wrap beets in foil and bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until tender. Let cool for at least 30 minutes. (Can be made a day ahead)
While beets are cooking make the caramelized onions. In a pan heat 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium-low heat. Cook onions until softened, stirring occasionally. After about 20 minutes add the chopped tomato and vinegar, cook for another 20 minutes. Optional: purée until smooth in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender. (Can be made a day ahead)
Gently rub beet skins off using fingers. Then, using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice beets into 1/8″ thick rounds.
Divide onion mixture among four plates, spreading into a circle a few inches in diameter. Layer beets on top of onions, and top with arugula. Sprinkle hazelnuts and parmesan over salad and drizzle a little olive oil overtop. Season with salt and pepper.