Charlotte isn’t really known for amazingly hip and delicious new restaurants. Fancy schmancy steak houses are still the theme here in this mostly conservative-tastebuded banker town. So when I get my hands on Bon Appétit’s annual ‘best new restaurants in the country’ issue I spend at least a solid afternoon wishing I lived in another city like San Francisco or Brooklyn. And for the case of this beet salad – Venice, CA.

The recipe comes from Gjusta – an I-want-to-go-to-there artisanal bakery/deli/cafe located in a sprawling warehouse-like space on Sunset Ave. Apparently deciding on what to order is a major challenge as everything looks and sounds amazing. Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to go, until then I’ll be making this salad.

I’m obsessed. I know you may be thinking umm… what’s so special about some potatoes and beets on a pile of greens? And that’s where I say: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, you know what I mean.  First the roasted beets get marinated in just simply a little olive oil and red wine vinegar – I could’ve eaten them straight up like that, so good. But tossed together with a generous amount of fresh herbs – parsley and dill, some scallions, the greens and roasted potatoes, it’s a good thing I saved some for the salad. A totally delicious experience all together. And can I just say I used to strongly dislike horseradish. I was very hesitant to make this dressing, thinking it would ruin the whole thing for me. Well I don’t know if my tastebuds changed overnight or the combination of crème fraîche and lemon juice made me love the stuff but it’s now my new favorite dressing and I’m literally putting it on everything. I couldn’t find fresh horseradish root so I got a jar of the prepared stuff (the good kind without anything artificial added).

Ingredients for the Marinated Beets

  • 3 medium beets, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for the Crème Fraîche Horseradish Dressing

  • ⅓ cup crème fraîche or plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • juice of one lemon

Ingredients for the Salad

  • 1 pound waxy potatoes (such as Yukon Gold), roasted and cubed
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • one small bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • one small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • your favorite greens, I used arugula

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°. Wrap beets in foil and roast directly on rack until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool, peel, and cut into ¾” pieces. Place in a small bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 Tbsp. vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes. I roasted the potatoes on the upper rack at the same time. Cube and toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper before roasting. To make the salad toss all the ingredients together while still beets and potatoes are still warm. Serve over a bed of your favorite greens. To make the dressing simple mix ingredients together and drizzle on salad.

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