"Red Hot" Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Toasts
The fiery little candies called red hots inspired this salad, in which beets get spiked with cayenne pepper and sweetened with maple syrup.
- 8 medium beets (1 3/4 pounds), scrubbed
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Twelve 1/4-inch-thick baguette slices, toasted
- 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 4 heads Bibb lettuce (3 ounces each), leaves separated
- 1. In a medium saucepan, cover the beets with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer the beets to a plate and let cool, then peel and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid in the saucepan.
- 2. Add the maple syrup to the pan and boil over moderately high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the beets and cayenne and simmer over moderate heat until the beets are sweet and hot, about 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a plate. Boil the cooking liquid until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Return the beets to the pan and let cool to room temperature.
- 3. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the beet syrup with the vinegar, olive oil and garlic and season with salt. Spread each toast with 2 teaspoons of goat cheese; sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- 4. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the beets and vinaigrette. Mound the salad on plates, set the goat cheese toasts alongside and serve.
- Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared up to 1 day ahead through Step 2 and refrigerated.
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