Our rhubarb plant is an over-achiever and produces copious amounts of those ruby red stalks nearly all summer long. It eventually bolts and starts to flower sometime in late July but by then, we have cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in the queue and we're ready to part ways....until next year. Given that our rhubarb plant thinks its a zucchini plant, I've had to find interesting ways to cook and eat all that tart and fibrous goodness.
Salads are a staple in our kitchen and given that we have a couple of vegetarians at the table, a hearty salad can fill the dinner bill (with a decent loaf of bread and good butter) without too much trouble. This salad is really easy to pull together -- you roast the beets and rhubarb, make a salad dressing, and toss it all together. If you don't have pomegranate molasses laying around (it's available at the Chequamegon Co-op, or Middle Eastern/Greek grocery stores), you can make a close-ish substitute by reducing apple cider down to a syrup.
River Road Farm's green are always top-notch but this batch was particularly beautiful -- the colors were so vibrant. Throw in some garnet colored beets and pink rhubarb and this salad a regular feast for the eyes. And I'm so happy to see Sassy Nanny chèvre back in the stores, it's my hands-down favorite goat cheese! It's officially summer now and I can't wait to start cooking with fresh veggies and fruits in the next few weeks -- stay tuned!
Roasted Beet and Rhubarb Salad with Sassy Nanny Chèvre
2 pounds of Great Oak Farms beets
1 pound rhubarb, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup raw sugar (can substitute light brown sugar)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup basil leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
4 ounces Sassy Nanny chèvre, pinched into small chunks
4 -- 5 cups River Road Farms salad mix and/or head lettuce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and trim the beets and place in an oven-proof dish, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover and place in the oven for about 45-60 minutes, depending on size. The beets are done when you can push a sharp knife in center and it's soft all the way through. Set aside to cool, then remove the peel, and chop.
Toss the rhubarb with the raw sugar and spread it on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until just softened. Set aside to cool.
In a Mason jar, place the remaining olive oil, sherry vinegar, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and minced garlic. Cover and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined. Taste for salt and pepper, and set aside.
Assemble the salad with the chopped beets, rhubarb, chèvre, red onion, and torn basil leaves on a large platter or bowl, pour the dressing over top, toss to combine and serve immediately.