Antioxidant-loaded beets are transformed with a quick-pickle that lends a sharp, yet sweet flavor. Served over a fresh frisée salad and sprinkled generously with pistachio dust, this salad is healthful, full of flavor, and may just look too pretty to eat. The smoky pistachio dust is adapted from Ripe: A Fresh Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables by Cheryl Sternman Rule.
For the smoky pistachio dust:
- 3/4 cup unsalted pistachios, toasted and cooled completely
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 12 small chioggia beets, scrubbed clean
- Olive oil
- White wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Frisée, rough-chopped
- Avocado, diced
- Cucumber, unpeeled, diced
Make the smoky pistachio dust: Grind all pistachio dust ingredients in a full-size food processor fitted with the metal blade for about 30 seconds, until dusty. Store in a tightly sealed jar on the counter.
Roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut off the leafy tops from the beets, leaving 1/2-inch stem. Rub the bulbs gently with a bit of olive oil. Place in an oven-safe glass baking dish, with some room between each one. Cover tightly with foil. (Alternately, roast the oil-slicked beets in a foil packet on a baking sheet.) Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out with little resistance. Cool completely. Peel with a paring knife. Dice.
In a jar, toss the diced, cooled beets with a splash of white wine vinegar, 2 generous pinches of sugar, and a generous pinch of salt. (Beets may be stored, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to one week, if desired.)
Make the salad: Combine the frisée, avocado, cucumber, and some beets in a large salad bowl. Make a vinaigrette by whisking a few tablespoons of olive oil with about half as much of the beet-y vinegar from your jar (2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar). Season to taste.
Sprinkle the salad generously with pistachio dust. Serve.