Beet Salad with Pears and Blue Cheese

When you eat beets, you might find your toilet contents to be redder than expected. This condition is actually called “beeturia” and is also commonly associated with red feces (sorry, after medical school nothing grosses you out anymore). The reddish color results from excreting unmetabolized betalain pigments such as betanin. Beeturia’s clinical significance has actually been studied in legit scientific journals, and I kid you not, there is even a case report of beeturia mimicking hematuria (blood in urine).
B’s friend ate some beets and panicked when he thought he had a GI (gastrointestinal) bleed the next day. 
*ahem* I confess, a similar panicky reaction might have happened to me too post beets. 
In my defense, GI bleeding is scary, and what is a medical student who has never eaten or used beets before to expect? Ah, too much studying.
Sorry to be gruesome. I just finished general surgery and it was all about blood. (I heart guts!) Now that I’ve forewarned you of potential side effects of eating beets, eat away and test yourself. Reportedly, only 10-14% of the population gets beeturia (Pubmed).

I made this salad while B was still visiting, using a recipe from our medical cooking class elective. I wanted to be romantic and go on a picnic. The time it took to make the food and drive to two parks to find a picnic spot to took way longer than the 5 minutes it took to wolf down our late lunch when we sat down.

And then a giant dog came over to steal our food. But it’s ok, it was still romantic in its own way. And I, dorky medical student, am the queen of romanticism, of course.

Autumn Beet Salad with Pears and Blue Cheese

4 small beets, stems trimmed, gently washed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1-inch slices
2 1/2 cups mixed greens
2 Bartlett pears, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup blue cheese
3-4 Tbsp. Sherry Vinaigrette, recipe below

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the beets on a square of foil, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Wrap them in the foil and bake until tender, 45-60 minutes. Allow them to cool, then peel and cut each beet into eights.

Place the bacon lardons in a large pan and cook over medium heat until just rendered and barely crisp, about 4 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

In a medium bowl, toss the mixed greens with the salt, pepper and vinaigrette to taste.

Place a mound of salad on each plate. Scatter the beets, pears, lardons and pecans around and arrange a wedge of cheese on each plate.

Sherry Vinaigrette 

1/2 shallot, minced
6 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
6 extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the shallot, thyme, and a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the sherry vinegar and let macerate for 10 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.

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  1. Zajac's response to being a referenced in this post:

    Hahahaha that's awesome! I guess I'm among the 14%!

    I think it's more than 14%. So far its 3/3 😀