Fennel, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Fennel, Beets and Arugula are all in season springtime vegetables.  We made this salad along with some pan seared chicken breasts on a bed of wilted dandelion greens ( also in season)- obviously we are highlighting the salad because it was the star of our meal- dandelion greens, not so much ( very bitter, we welcome any suggestions to try them again, until that happens we won’t be getting them… ).  Back to our Fennel, Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad; we tossed it in a homemade dressing that had finely chopped chives and shallots, which balanced well with the variety of bold flavored veggies- fennel holds it’s crunchy bite and sweet anise flavor offset by the peppery arugula, and back to the sweet roasted beets with tangy goat cheese to top it all off…  A mouthful of flavors, this is no boring salad!

2 medium beets (red or gold), washed, tops removed, and cut in half
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely minced chives
1 diced shallot
1-2  fennel bulbs, top trimmed
6 cups baby arugula
2 oz goat cheese, optional

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place beets in a small baking dish. Add 11/2 teaspoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until beets are tender. Let beets cool, peel off skin, and cut into bite-size wedges.
3. Whisk together remaining olive oil, vinegar, chives, and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Add 11/2 tablespoons of dressing to beets and toss to coat.
4. Cut fennel bulb in half and remove core. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice fennel and transfer to a large bowl. Add arugula and gently toss to mix. Add remaining dressing and toss again. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Heap a mound of fennel-arugula salad in center of each plate. Scatter beets around fennel mixture and goat cheese and serve.

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