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Beet Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts and Red Onions

This beet salad is typical of one you might find on an antipasti platter in Northern Italy. I think the crunchy hazelnuts pair beautifully with the earthy roasted beets and the red onions provide the perfect hint of sweetness to make this beet salad truly memorable.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet coaxed this recipe out of Chef Hinnerk von Bargen, Ming’s Thing and Associate Professor at the Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio, and included it in the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market Community Cook Book, Vol. 1

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 pound red beets
  • ½ cup hazelnuts peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chives sliced finely

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt black pepper as needed
  • 1/3 red onion thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Remove roots and leaves from the beets, scrub gently and roast at 400 degrees or until tender. This will take about 40 minutes to 1 hour or a little longer, depending on the size of the beets. Once tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Using paper towels--so as not to stain your hands--peel the beets, slice and set aside.

  2. On a sheet pan in the oven, toast the hazelnuts until they turn golden brown and the smell of roasted nuts fills the house. Allow to cool and chop in a food processor so they are lightly crushed.

  3. Combine all dressing ingredients, except the olive oil, in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer slowly for about five minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar as desired.

  4. Add the olive oil to dressing, and toss gently with the beets, hazelnuts and red onions and adjust seasoning as desired.