Perhaps you’ve had smashed potatoes. Beets also respond well to this technique. And we love the way the beet greens are incorporated in the salad rather than discarded. This recipe was inspired by the remarkable chef Francis Mallmann, whose restaurant Fuegos de Apalta has become a favorite of my wife and myself when we visit Chile.
- 4 medium beets, yellow or red, with green tops, if available
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 4 cups arugula or baby greens
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces feta or queso fresco, crumbled
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Trim the beets, reserving the greens. Discard any thick stems. Place the beets on a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Coat them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast until easily pierced by a knife, about 50 to 60 minutes, turning them once midway. Let cool slightly.
While the beets are cooling, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the vinegar in a large bowl. Add the arugula or baby greens and the beet greens, if available, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, cover them with another sheet of parchment and gently smash each one with the palm of your hand to flatten it to a disc about one-inch thick.
Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add two of the smashed beets and cook until the bottoms are charred, about 3 minutes; flip and repeat. Use a spatula to place them on top of the greens on the serving platter. Repeat with remaining beets and the last tablespoon of olive oil.
Scatter the cheese over the beets, and drizzle with more olive oil.