Pay close attention to the pine nuts as they toast: their high fat content means that they can burn quickly. The beets and vinaigrette can be prepared up to a day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Toss the beets with the vinaigrette just before serving; otherwise the sharp vinaigrette will overpower the beets' subtle flavor.
This recipe was published in our cookbook Restaurant Favorites at Home.
1 pound medium beets , tops and bottoms trimmed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra-virgin)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon minced shallot
1 1/2 quarts loosely packed arugula, stems trimmed (about 5 ounces)
1.Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the beets, cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl. Wrap each beet separately in aluminum foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Cook the beets until soft and easily pierced with a paring knife or skewer, about 1 hour. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them by rubbing them with a paper towel—the skin should slide right off. Cut each beet into 6 or 8 wedges.
2. Toast the pine nuts in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until light golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
3. Process the remaining olive oil, sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, mustard, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a blender until fully emulsified, 20 to 30 seconds. Stir in shallot and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette in a medium bowl.
4. Toss the arugula with the remaining vinaigrette in a medium bowl. Divide the arugula equally among chilled salad plates and top with the beets. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve immediately.
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