Edamame pesto and roasted beet crostini recipe

We are in the home stretch of winter, and even though it’s been one of the warmest winters in New England and the forsythia is blooming nearly 2 months early, it’s still slim pickings, food wise. We are many weeks away from garlic scapes or asparagus or peas at the nearby farms. I’ve had quite enough kale and winter squash and now I long for spring and fresh vegetables.

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Golden beet and raw kale salad

Golden beets have become a recent favorite. I’ve been preparing them using Mark Bittman’s good advice of wrapping cleaned and trimmed individual beets in foil and baking them at 400 degrees until a sharp knife slides easily through them. After they cool, you peel them and eat them or put them in the refrigerator for later. They find their way into salad, sandwiches (with goat cheese and arugula), and maybe even a dessert (shhhhh…).

They also go nicely with raw kale. I tried my first raw kale salad last summer, and it was the NY Times version with raw kale ribbons, lemon juice, and ricotta salata. Pretty good, but not enough to convert non-fans of slighly bitter green leaves. Then there’s the gateway raw kale salad in Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite. I could tear up strips of junk mail and use them in place of the kale and get rave reviews.

Golden beet and raw kale salad
I bunch of lacinato kale, washed and dried
2 1/2 TBS fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 TBS olive oil
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3 golden beets, cooked and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup or more, parmesan (finely grated or shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler)
salt and pepper to taste

1. With a sharp knife, remove the center ribs from the kale. Then stack leaves and cut them in ribbons of about 3/4 wide. Repeat until all leaves are cut.

2. In your salad bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Add to the bowl kale, beets, walnuts, and most of the parmesan and toss until all ingredients are coated. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Top with remaining parmesan and serve.

Serves 4 as a first course or light lunch along with beet, goat cheese, and arugula sandwiches.