When I think of crunchy things in salad, I typically think of croutons, shaved carrots, shredded cabbage – not cashew brittle. That is, not until I ordered the roasted beet salad at 900 Wall, our most frequented restaurant since we moved to Bend.
First I tried to re-create the salad at home with roasted beets, crumbled nuts, blue cheese or crumbled gorgonzola and a drizzle of honey. I thought that the sweetness of honey and crunch of nuts would mimic the nut brittle – but, no magic. The key to this salad is the brittle.
I’ve always enjoyed the salty sweet crunch of nut brittle, but assumed it was complicated to make. But, guess what? It’s not. I found this recipe at Sassy Radish – easy, wonderful. Using a candy thermometer – heating the brittle to 250 degrees – was my only change. I didn’t trust myself to recognize ‘dark amber’. You’ll have lots of brittle left over, which your friends and neighbors won’t mind (if you decide to share).
Once you have the brittle, making the beet salad takes almost no effort. Just roast the beets in their skin – so easy to peel once they’re tender – 2 medium size beets per person, wrapped in foil then roasted at 450 degrees for an hour. Peel the beets once their cool enough to handle or pop them in the fridge, in the foil, until the next day.
Cut the beets into bite-size pieces and arrange on a plate with a hunk of blue cheese (I used Saint Agur because it was on sale at the market), pinch of salt and swirl of olive oil, sprinkle of coarsely chopped brittle and you’re ready to eat. We’ve had this salad with the beets cold from the fridge or room temperature – it’s delicious either way.