Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Autumn Root Salad with Warm Maple Fig Dressing

Autumn Root Salad with Warm Maple Fig Dressing
This is a very pretty salad, with some substance. This was my first time roasting beets; I usually get them already cooked and peeled from Trader Joe's, and if you're in a pinch they'll do, but roasting them your self really pays off in freshness and flavor. The beets, potatoes, and sweet potatoes really play off each other really nicely. The dressing is definitely for those who like things on the sweeter side, if you want to cut the sweetness you could reduce the amount of maple syrup. This is a good salad to entertain with, just make the beets, and potatoes the day before. Another tasty recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Veganomicon.

3 small loose beets
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled
3 small purple potatoes, peeled
A little olive oil
About 6 cups of field greens


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup shallots, chopped coarsely
1 cup chopped dried mission figs
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar (regular is okay too)

Prepare the beets:

     Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the beets well and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast until tender, about 75-80 minutes. To make sure they're ready, unwrap one slice through the beet with no problem. Unwrap the beets and let them sit until cool to the touch, then refrigerate. Once chilled, slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Prepare the Sweet and Purple Potatoes:
     Slice the yams and potatoes width wise at an angle into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Place in a large, broad, lidded pan and cover with cold water and a sprinkle of salt. Cover the pan and bring to a boil, then simmer until the yams and potatoes are tender but still firm, 8-10 minutes. When they are ready, drain them in a large colander and spread them out on a sheet pan to cool. Sprinkle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Prepare the Dressing:

     Preheat the small saucepan over medium-low heat. Saute the garlic and shallots in the oil for about 3 minutes. Add the figs and wine, cover, and bring to a simmer. When the wine has mostly evaporated, add the salt, water, and maple syrup. Cover and simmer another 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and mix in the mustard and vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, then transfer the dressing to a blender and puree it until smooth. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water if it is too thick to puree, or if it is to thick for your preference. Serve warm, or refrigerate and reheat when ready to serve. To heat it, gently warm in a sauce pan over low heat, adding a few splashes of water if necessary.

To Serve:

     In a large bowl, use tongs to mix the greens with some dressing, this dressing is thick so add a little at a time until you find your desired coating. Reserve the rest of the dressing to dollop on the vegetables after they have been arranged.
On each plate, make a circle with slices of the vegetables. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables. Place the greens on top in the center, leaving the beets, yams, and potatoes peeking out from underneath. 

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