Ode to a Beet, or a salad only a mother could love
25 Mar 2006

Well, that's probably not true. But in my house, it's a salad that only I would like. 95% of the ingredients are basically detested by my husband and daughter... it's got lettuce "that stabs you", beets and, the worst offender, a runny egg. Luckily, my lunches are my own so when I saw the fris?ɬ©e nest in The Southern Table carefully cupping a delightfully runny poached egg, I popped out to get my own fixings. Frank Stitt's (yes, I am addicted to this cookbook for this week... I promise I'll move on to something else on Monday) version had a rich red-wine vinaigrette, but when I was at the market, I passed by some golden beets and couldn't pass them up. I love beets. I am definitely the only one in my home that does, but every time I eat them, I think that I could eat them every day. Maybe the beet is why I got so hooked on Tom Robbin's novels, with his epic poetry on the joys of beets:

The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
(Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume)
Golden Beet
I am even a little bit sad right now because the ones I just bought are all gone. Anyway, I digress. A quick roast of the beets gave me gorgeously fragrant juices, so I forwent the red-wine vinaigrette. I had some proscuitto ends that I fried up with some olive oil and red wine vinegar and a little sugar to round out the roasted beet nectar. And then, I went to poaching my egg. I have never poached an egg before, so I started reading up and while I'm not known for following directions, this time, I swear I did as asked. But my sad little whites ran away from their golden counterpart and my egg wasn't the perfectly round parcel I was hoping for. Still, it sat just fine atop the greens and the beets and when I gently nudged it open, I had bite after bite of golden salty-sweet and I licked the plate clean.
Beet and Poached Egg Salad
Poached Egg with Fris?ɬ©e and Golden Beet Serves One 1 to 2 golden beets 1 T olive oil 1 bunch of frisee 1 egg, poached Salt and Pepper to taste Vinaigrette 2 T red wine vinegar 1 T olive oil 2 T chopped proscuitto ends (or bacon, and leave out the olive oil) 1 t sugar Preheat the oven to 475F. Rinse and peel beets, and cut into small cubes. Pile the beets into a small heap on a large piece of foil. Drizzle 1 T of olive oil over the beet pile and season with salt and pepper.
Roasting Golden Beets
Seal up the package, and pop it into the oven, baking for 30 to 40 minutes or until the beets are tender. While the beets are cooking, add the chopped proscuitto ends, vinegar, oil and sugar to a small skillet on high. When hot, reduce to a simmer. When you've reached a nice thick reduction, remove from heat. Add water as needed if all the liquid evaporates. You only need a tablespoon or so of dressing for this salad because the beets bring such a wonderful flavor and plenty of moisture. In fact, you could probably leave off the dressing entirely. Wash and dry your fris?ɬ©e and then poach your egg. My egg poaching, as already noted, didn't go so well, so I'll let you look here for better guidance and keep working on my technique. There are very detailed instructions here which match the Southern Table directions. If you've timed everything right, your beets should be about ready. Remove the package from the oven, and open carefully, preserving as much of the juice as possible. Place fris?ɬ©e on the plate and top with the beets, pouring the juice over the whole salad. Top with the egg, and the vinaigrette, followed by salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.

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