In the late summer, bunches of small beets are a riot of colour. You can find orange, red and candy-striped, which all look wonderful in this substantial salad. Use the larger ones only if the small ones aren’t available. Red beets tend to stain everything they come in contact with, but if you let baby beets cool before peeling, they will stain less.
1 pounds (450 grams) mixed colour beets, preferably the small ones
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped mint
½ cup walnut pieces
6 ounces (200 grams) fresh ricotta
2 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons chive oil (or other fresh herb oil)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Place beets in a baking dish with olive oil and water. Cover tightly with foil or a lid and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size. Beet should be tender. Slip skins off beets and cut in halves, keeping red and other coloured beets separate.
Combine sherry vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over beets and toss to combine. Stir in shallots, mint and walnut pieces.
Divide arugula among 4 salad plates or bowls; top each with fresh ricotta and pile beet salad over. Sprinkle over a little chive oil. Serves 4
To make chive oil: combine ½ cup chives with ½ cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Let sit for 2 hours then strain. The oil should be a bright green colour.