Nothing could get me to eat my grandmother Galasso's beet salad. Her purple stained fingers were a tip-off that boiled beets were in the refrigerator. And now, I have trouble getting my family to eat them, so I've dressed them up in a zippy dressing that is very refreshing. Baking instead of boiling the beets prevents the juices and color from leaching out.
2 pounds (4 to 6) beets
1/3 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
Salt to taste
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 small head red-leaf lettuce, cleaned and separated into leaves
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Remove any leaves from beets and cut the stems, leaving about 2 inches of stem attached. Wash and dry the beets well. Wrap each in aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife can easily be inserted. Unwrap and let cool.
In a flat shallow serving dish, mix the remaining ingredients except the eggs, lettuce, and mint sprigs.
Peel the beets, cut off and discard the remaining stems, and slice the beets into 1/4-inch rounds. Place beets in the marinade and gently toss with a spoon. Cover the dish and let beets marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
To serve, divide the lettuce leaves among 4 salad plates. Place some of the beets on top of each dish and garnish with a few egg slices. Add a mint sprig to each plate, if you wish. Serve immediately.
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