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Saying chèvre like an annoying American is funny to me. Probably because I know a few French words but not enough to be useful, like when looking for the bathroom or asking for a beer. However, I distinctly recall learning my first French swear-word: at the end of 9 to 5, the boss’ assistant was coming back from her trip to France and said, “merde.” In fact, I think I learned a great deal about life from that film.
This salad was born of an overabundance of beets and the desire to have Grampa’s PIzzeria‘s beet salad without leaving the house. Seriously, it’s the best beet salad ever.
Preheat the oven to 400º and grab your knife. After honing, cut the top and bottom off the beets. Depending on your zero-waste level, throw the beet greens in with the rest of the salad, save ’em to make a pesto, or compost ’em.
Put the beets into foil pockets and drizzle, spray, or otherwise apply some kind of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 45-60 minutes. Check with a fork after 45, even tho I’m not sure it’s possible to “over roast” a beet.
Now that I look at that photo, I realize it’s not at all necessary to individually package the beets; a simple foil tube would be just fine. But, this makes them feel more special. Once you can poke a fork in ’em without much resistance, they can come out and cool down. It’s not proof of any super-powers if you can peel a beet that’s 400º ON THE OUTSIDE. Since they are plated relatively room temp, you could roast the day before or hours before you’re ready for dinner.
The rest of the salad is whatever you want. We’ve been digging these greens from Wisconsin (Woodman’s just started carrying this brand) because you can tell they didn’t sit on a truck for a week on their way up to the northern states. Slice up some red onion, cucumber, radish. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. This time around, I added pine nuts and hemp hearts because I was feeling like we needed more crunch.
When the salad is well coated, plate and set aside.
Now comes the magic part: cheese. But, not just any cheese. Goat cheese. And, not just ANY goat cheese. AIR-FRIED GOAT CHEESE in BALL SHAPE!
I regret that I don’t have pictures of the process because it’s a two-handed one, and it’s messy, and my iPhone isn’t insured.
Preheat your air fryer and get your separate whisked-egg and panko bowls ready.
Take the log of chèvre and cut pieces to shape into balls slightly smaller than the size of a ping-pong. If we’re using food for reference, you’re looking for a bocconcini-sized ball, not ovaline.
Coat with egg, coat with panko. Repeat.
When the fryer is hot, pull out the basket and lightly spray with avocado oil. Place each cheese ball so they’re not touching and “fry” for about eight minutes. When done, carefully scoop each ball out with a spoon and place gently on the salad like a rescued bird’s egg into its nest.
Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese
- Air Fryer
- 3 handfuls salad greens
- 1/3 c red onion sliced
- 1/3 c cucumber sliced
- 1 Tbsp pine nuts
- 1 Tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 6 beets roasted
- 4 oz goat cheese divided
- 1/3 c panko
- 1 egg whisked
- Roast the beets in foil with olive oil, salt, pepper for 45-60 minutes at 400º. Check with a fork and remove to cool. When cooled, peel under running water. Slice into quarters.
- When nearly ready to eat, mix the rest of the salad ingredients together and plate. Top salad with quartered beets.
- Put panko and egg in separate bowls. Ball up the goat cheese (the size is preference-based—we like 'em smaller) and dip in each bowl to coat.
- After the air fryer is preheated (about five minutes), place cheese balls in the basket for eight minutes without flipping. Gently remove with a spoon and place it onto the salad.