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Roasted Beet, Avocado and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt and Herbs
Roasted Beet, Avocado and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt and Herbs Photo courtesy of Penelope Grill at A16 Rockridge

We’ve eaten enough pedestrian beet-and-goat-cheese salads to last a lifetime. That’s why we were so pleased to see chef Rocky Maselli’s new iteration on his Southern Italian-inspired menu. At the new Oakland, Calif., restaurant A16 Rockridge, Maselli marries tender roasted beets with cucumber, avocado, fresh herbs and tangy Greek yogurt to create a shoulder-season salad that’s a perfect antipasto for your next dinner party.

Makes 6 first-course servings

1 pound small mixed beets, trimmed and scrubbed

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

1 avocado

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon tarragon leaves

1. Make the salad: Preheat the oven to 350˚. In a medium bowl, toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the beets in foil and roast for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

2. Unwrap the beets and let them cool to room temperature. Using your fingers or a paper towel, remove the skin from the beets. Thinly slice the beets and transfer them to a large bowl. Add the cucumber and shallot to the bowl and set aside.

3. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the remaining ¼ cup olive oil with the lemon juice. Whisk in the chives and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the beets and cucumbers with the dressing and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to marinate.

4. Divide the marinated beets and cucumbers among six plates. Slice the avocado in half and remove the pit and skin. Thinly slice the avocado and divide it among the plates.

5. Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top of each salad, then garnish with the parsley and tarragon. Season to taste with salt before serving.

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