This recipe takes full advantage of a beet's beautiful color and flavor by salt roasting. This is a great method when you want to experiment with the flavor of various beets. You can use small beets, too, but roast them for much less time, tending the beets carefully and pulling them from the oven when a fork slides in easily.
1 to 2 cups kosher salt
3 large beets (golden or chiogga beets), washed but not peeled or trimmed
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, almonds, or hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or champagne vinegar
1-1/4 cups light olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar
4 cups fresh arugula, tough stems removed, chilled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt for tossing
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper for tossing
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shavings (see note)
Note: To make shavings from Parmesan or other hard cheeses, use a cheese shaver, vegetable peeler, or sharp knife to slice paper-thin wide curls.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread enough kosher salt to cover the bottom of a small baking dish and rest the beets upright on the salt. Roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1-1/2 hours. Give the beets at least 30 minutes to cool. Raise the oven temperature to 400°F.
Wearing gloves or holding a piece of plastic wrap or aluminum foil to protect your fingers, cut off the beets' stems and peel each beet. Cut the beets in half, then cut into 1/2-inch slices and give the beets a medium dice by cutting in the opposite direction. Set aside.
Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, tossing once, until fragrant and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet immediately and set aside.
Trim the stem ends of the endives and cut each head in half. Separate the leaves for each half, then stack them again to form half a head of endive. Set aside.
To make the vinaigrette, combine all of the ingredients. Stir in the cooled nuts.
I like to dress each salad separately. For each salad, set aside 1/2 cup beets, 1 cup arugula, and half of each endive. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss each component of the salad—arugula, endive, and beets—separately in the seasoned vinaigrette, making sure to toss the beets last. Arrange the vegetables on an individual plate. Rinse the bowl and repeat to assemble the remaining 3 salads.
Top each salad with 2 tablespoons of shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.