Jeremy Silansky is able to get Vermont watercress year-round from a friend who cultivates the bitter winter green in a pond behind her house. Silansky pairs watercress with the classic combination of sweet roasted beets and tangy goat cheese, which he buys from Vermont Butter & Cheese Company.
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3/4 pound medium red and golden beets
1 head of garlic
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
Eight 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices
1/2 pound watercress, large stems trimmed
1/2 cup peeled and diced celery root
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the beets in a small baking dish and cover it with foil. Cut off the top third of the head of garlic and set it on a sheet of foil. Drizzle the garlic with olive oil and wrap it in the foil. Bake the beets and garlic until tender, about 1 hour.
Peel the beets and cut them into wedges. Squeeze the garlic cloves into a bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, whisk the shallot, orange and lemon juices and vinegar. Stir in the honey until dissolved. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the baguette slices on a cookie sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake until crisp, about 7 minutes. Spread the baguette slices with the mashed garlic.
In a large bowl, toss the watercress with the celery root and roasted beets. Add the dressing and toss well. Mound the salad on plates and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Serve with the roasted-garlic crostini.
The roasted and peeled beets can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
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