(courtesy of Cameron Atkinson, executive chef, Centro Bar & Kitchen in Reno. Makes 4 to 6 side salads)
2 bunches beets, either red or gold
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 bunch thyme
Place beets in deep, oven-safe pan, fully submerged in water. Then add salt, pepper, and thyme. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F until fork tender, about 1 hour. Once done, take out of water, let cool, and gently peel with towel.
For goat cheese
2 cups chèvre cheese (any kind will work)
3 tablespoons honey (Atkinson says local is best and recommends Al Bees)
1 pinch salt
For citrus vinaigrette
1 cup orange juice
1 clove garlic
1 small shallot
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil (a blended oil is best)
Place first five ingredients into blender (Vitamix is best), and blend on low until mixed well together. Then start adding oil slowly until emulsified.
For candied fennel
2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Heat up water and sugar in small saucepot, making sure sugar is fully dissolved. Then add fennel and cook on low 6 minutes; strain well and let cool. Place fennel on nonstick silicone pad and place in oven at 150 degrees F until hardened. Or if you have a dehydrator, place inside overnight.
Assemble fennel, beets, and goat cheese atop any type of green (the salad is served with arugula at Centro), and then dress with citrus vinaigrette.