Recently I bought several pounds of beets at a farm stand. They were winter beets, rather old with no greens. It took an inordinate amount of time to cook them til tender...upward of 2 hours. Luckily I wasn't in a rush,
The first salad I made was based on a recipe from Epicurious.
Wrap whole beets in foil and roast in a 425 oven til tender. (To avoid leaks in the oven I usually place the beets in a foil-lined bread pan and cover with more foil.) Meanwhile, saute sliced almonds in 2 T EVOO til pale gold and allow to cool in oil. Remove almonds and reserve oil. Prepare dressing: combine reserved oil with 1 T lemon juice, 1 T sherry vinegar, 1 minced shallot, S & P to taste. As soon as beets can be handled, slip off peels, slice and combine while still warm with dressing. Allow to cool. Arrange some greens on individual plates. Top with sliced beets, cubed Asian pear, almonds and any dressing remaining in bowl. This makes a fairly substantial salad that could serve as an entree with soup and bread.
I also made a beet salad from "Simply French: the Cuisine of Joel Rubochon" by Patricia Wells. Wells is the author of one of my favorite cookbooks, "Bistro Cooking", which has a fabulous collection of potato gratin recipes. I wasn't as impressed with this recipe as I expected to be. The seasonings were a bit too subtle for my taste.
Roast beets til tender. Prepare dressing: combine 1 t red wine vinegar, 1 t sherry vinegar, 2 T EVOO, 1 T canola oil, 2 T cream, 1 T horseradish, white pepper and salt to taste. Toss dressing and peeled beets while beets are still warm. Let cool. I'd add more horseradish and vinegar next time.
One bonus about both these recipes is that the beets can be roasted and tossed with the dressing well in advance. Even a day in advance.