|Roasted beet salad with burrata and kale pesto|
People think of southern California as the land of sunshine and beaches. Well, I have news for you: Winter is still winter, even here in Los Angeles. It may not snow, but when it's raining and gloomy and the wind blows, you feel it in your bones.
Of course, that may be partly a construction issue. When we bought our house 15+ years ago, it had zero insulation. The windows were so old that the rain blew in around them. We've fixed those things, but somehow southern California houses always feel drafty in the winter.
We never did get around to having our chimney cleaned, so sometimes I treat myself by heading over to one of Santa Monica's grand hotels and huddling up by a roaring fireplace with a drink, a snack, and a good book. My current favorite is Hotel Casa del Mar - seriously the best place to watch the sunset in Santa Monica. And it doesn't hurt that USA Today just named their fireplace one of the coziest hotel fireplaces in the country.
Casa del Mar just switched up its lobby lounge menu and invited me to taste some of the new items a few weeks ago. Hotel food doesn't often impress, but some of the new items at Casa del Mar made me tingle. There's a smoky drink made with beet juice, mezcal and the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout that sounds weird but is surprisingly good. And the yellowtail and salmon crudos are outstanding.
The menu also includes a few more predictable items: olives, sliders, charcuterie, and the ubiquitous roasted beet salad. According to Simon Sorpresi, Casa del Mar's director of food and beverage, the new chef felt the beet salad had run its course and wanted to take it off the menu during the latest revamp. Nope, said Simon. It always sells, so it stays. Tired or not in concept, Casa del Mar's beet salad is delicious. It's easy to see why it sells.
Here's my version of Casa del Mar's beet salad. They pair their beets with creamy burrata, grapefruit and pistachios; I used lemon and a nutty kale pesto. However you adorn it, you'll want to keep a roasted beet salad on your menu too.
Roasted beet salad with burrata and kale pesto
Pair roasted beets with creamy burrata cheese and a tangy, nutty kale pesto for a healthy and beautiful starter salad.
- 1 pound fresh beets, unpeeled, scrubbed well
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- pinch of sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 8 ounces burrata cheese
- 1/4 cup kale pesto (click here for recipe)
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub the beets with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, then wrap the beets well in foil. Place the foil package on a baking sheet and roast the beets in the foil until tender, about 1 hour (large beets will take longer than small beets). While the beets are roasting, whisk together the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.Remove the beets from the oven, open the foil, and let the beets cool just until you can handle them. Using your fingers, slip the skins from the beets. Dice the beets into 1-inch cubes. Immediately toss the warm beets with the lemon juice mixture. It's important that this step be done while the beets are warm - it helps them absorb the flavors of the dressing.To serve the beet salad, divide the beets onto four plates. Pull the burrata into rough chunks with your fingers and divide it evenly among the plates. Drizzle the plates generously with the kale pesto. Serve immediately.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings