For me, real food and real life include eating seasonally. Which is why when spring rolls around I choose this Golden Beet Salad with Avocado and Haricot Verts. It’s fresh and seasonal. It has just a few ingredients; each one chose to augment the other. While it’s true that this is “just a salad” I like to think that it is in no way boring.
- 1 pound golden beets (about 2 to 3 inches in diameter)
- 1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar (or more as needed)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus a little extra to finish)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Cholula)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
- 8 ounce blanched haricot verts (or regular green beans)
- 2 ripe but firm avocados (peeled and sliced)
- 1 bunch fresh watercress (stems and leaves)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)
- 1 bunch fresh mint (leaves only)
Peel the beets and slice them very thinly into rounds that are about 2 to 3 mm thick. Use a mandolin for best presentation.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the beet slices to the pot and simmer them for about 3 minutes; they should be slightly cooked but still crunchy. Drain the beet slices and put them in a large bowl.
Add the red onion slices, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, hot sauce, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper to the bowl with the beets; toss to combine. Set aside for at least 10–15 minutes and up to 1 hour, then taste. Adjust seasoning as needed with more vinegar, hot sauce and/or more sugar. It should taste both sharp and sweet, but not too spicy.
When you’re ready to serve, spread about half the beet mixture on a large platter. Top with blanched haricot verts, avocado, watercress, cilantro, and mint. Arrange the rest of the beets artistically around the platter, sprinkling any liquid left in the bowl over the salad. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.