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Marinated Beet and Chicory Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese, Pickled Apples, and Prosciutto
Pickle the Apples: Place all ingredients except for apples and dill into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes. Place the apples and dill in heat-proof jar. Once the liquid has cooled slightly, pour over the apples in the jar and ensure they are submerged in the liquid. Let cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Candy the Pistachios: Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once bubbling rapidly, shake the pan frequently to keep the pistachios moving and evenly coated. The water will start to evaporate, lower the heat to medium-low once most of the water is gone. Continue to shake the pan vigorously until the sugar starts to brown, then remove from heat. Immediately transfer to a parchment-lined tray or plate to cool, using a fork to separate as much as possible (but don’t touch as they will be extremely hot). Let cool completely and separate with your hands. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Roast the Beets: Preheat oven to 400˚F (205˚C).
In a large bowl, toss beets with 3 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ cup vinegar. Season generously with salt and pepper. Line a roasting pan with foil or use a baking dish. Transfer seasoned beets and all liquid to the roasting pan and cover tightly with foil so no steam will escape.
Bake on the center rack for about 1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the size of your beets, until tender and meeting no resistance when pierced with a paring knife or cake tester (you can test this through the foil). Remove the top foil and let cool until just cool enough to handle. Use a kitchen towel to easily remove the rough skin from the beets--this is easiest done when still hot. Slice the beets into about 1-inch thick wedges.
Combine remaining ¼ cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl just large enough to fit the beets, or pour directly into a large zip-top plastic bag. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the still-warm beets to the marinade, mixing carefully to coat evenly. Let the beets marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
Whip the Goat Cheese: Place goat cheese and a splash of heavy cream in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk, starting on low speed and gradually increasing, until mixture is light and fluffy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add herbs, salt and lemon zest and whip quickly to just-incorporate.
Crisp the Prosciutto: Preheat oven to 425˚F (218˚C). Place a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and lay the slices of prosciutto on the sheet in a single layer, trying not to let the slices overlap. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until slightly golden and starting to crisp--they will continue to crisp as they cool (like slices of bacon). Once crisp, break up into large chunks with your hands.
Dress the Chicories: In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt to make the dressing. Once ready to serve, remove the shaved beets from ice water and pat dry. Add shaved beets and chicories to the bowl and toss to combine, taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
To serve, spread a large spoonful of goat cheese on half of two wide, shallow bowls, letting it come up the side a bit. Arrange half the salad leaves on the other half of each bowl, letting some of them sit on top of the goat cheese. Arrange half the beets on top to the lettuces of each bowl, then top each with half of the prosciutto slices, pickled apples, and pistachios. Garnish with remaining soft herbs.
-Simply omit the prosciutto for a vegetarian meal.
-If you are roasting different colored beets, roast them separately in two foil pouches as to not let the colors bleed together. Same goes for marinating.
-Beets can be made up to 2 days in advance, simply store in the refrigerator in an airtight container and bring to room temperature before serving.
-Save your leafy beet greens to sauté or use in soups and stews--they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can also pickle the stems for root to tip no-waste--any basic pickling recipe will do.
-Wear gloves if you don’t want purple beets to stain your hands! And take care as to where you work with them as they can stain surfaces too.
-If you can’t find those gorgeous Chioggia beets, swap out for watermelon radish for a similar punch of color.