Baskets of colorful summer vegetables from the kitchen garden continue to inspire experiments in the kitchen, particularly new combinations of colors, flavors and textures.
Drawn by the similar colors of beets and tomatoes, I combined steamed and cooled red and golden beets with sliced red, orange and yellow tomatoes. Once I’d arranged the beets and tomatoes on a platter, all the salad needed was olive oil, salt and a garnish of fresh basil.
This new-to-me salad joined the sweet density of beets with the juicy acidity of tomatoes and the bright colors of both. Who knew beets and tomatoes would taste so good together? Lots of people, actually, as I discovered by looking for other recipes that combined tomatoes and beets.
Many tomato and beet salad recipes begin with tomatoes and steamed, roasted or even raw beets then add goat, Parmesan or Manchego cheese, walnuts or hazelnuts, or pickled onions. There are even recipes for the classic caprese salad with slices of cooked beets along with sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil.
Of these many possibilities, I was tempted by a raw beet and tomato salad from Food 52. I used one red and one yellow beet in my version, julienned both on the mandoline. Though beets are dense, by cutting them in half and feeding the root end into the mandoline, they slice easily. When I tossed the salad for serving, the yellow beets turned a pretty orange color from the juices of the red beet.
- For the salad
- 2 small red beets, peeled
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted, roughly chopped
- 2 ounces Manchego cheese shavings
- Pinch dry oregano
- 1/8 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, just leaves
- For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- Sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper.
Gradually add the olive oil until well combined.
Thinly julienne the beets using a mandoline or a very sharp knife.
Transfer to a bowl and pour the dressing on top.
Let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
To finish off the salad, add cherry tomatoes and parsley leaves, gently mix to combine.
Adjust the seasoning and plate the salad.
For another beet and tomato salad, I created a palate of yellow and green, inspired by two of my favorite salads, Deborah Madison’s Golden Beets, Fava Beans and Mint and David Tanis’s Fresh Multi-Bean Salad with Charred Red Onion All this merger needed was tomatoes.
A collection of Touchstone Gold beets, Golden Sunray and Jaune Flamme tomatoes, Green Doctors cherry tomatoes, shelled fava beans, Monte Gusto yellow beans and Fortex green beans came together into a gorgeous salad. I steamed the beets and boiled the beans and let both cool before combining them with the other vegetables. Then I used the mustard vinaigrette from the David Tanis salad and some shaved Pecorino Romano cheese to finish this delicious salad.
August is coming to an end, but there is still September for more experiments with tomatoes and beets. And once tomatoes are gone, there will still be beets ready for new salad combinations.