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Beet and Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese

From The Wine Sense Diet

Candied pecans:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Pinch of salt
1 pound pecan pieces

3 bunches baby beets (preferably a mixture of red, gold and chioggia beets), washed and with tops removed
4 ounces (preferably baby) spinach or arugula, washed and spun dry
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
3 ounces crumbled goat cheese

1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1 large shallot, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4 to 1 cup olive oil (does not need to be virgin or extra-virgin olive oil)


To prepare candied pecans: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two sheet trays with nonstick spray.

Place honey, sugar, water and salt in a large saucepan over high heat and boil to dissolve sugar. Add pecans and continue cooking until nuts are totally covered with syrup and bottom of pan is dry.

Remove from heat, and pour out onto one of the sheet trays. Place in the oven and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes until nuts are dark brown. Remove from oven and transfer nuts onto the other sheet tray. Place tray in freezer to cool them quickly. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, break them up to keep them from sticking together. Store in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.

To prepare salad: Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets in foil. Place in the oven and roast until easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Unwrap foil, wait until cool enough to handle, and peel and cut into thick slices. Set aside.

In a stainless steel bowl, place the sherry wine vinegar, shallot and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil.

In two separate bowls, place both spinach and beets with chopped dill. Pour vinaigrette (just enough to coat) over the spinach and the beets; toss.

On chilled plates, make a bed of spinach, top with beets and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of the candied pecans and the goat cheese.

Yields 6 servings.




(Updated: 10/21/08 SN)

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