Beets are so humble. They may look funny raw but they're really diamonds in the rough. Their incredible color and flavor never cease to astound me. I dress the beets up with complementary ingredients that serve to make their flavor shine without overpowering. Beets are special and should be the only star on the stage.
Cook beets in water to cover until tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Drain the beets and set aside to cool.
For the dressing, whisk together olive oil, shallot, half the lemon juice, the thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.
While the beets are cooling, wash the watercress and trim the thicker stems from the leaves. Spread the trimmed watercress out over some paper towels to dry.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to peel off the beets skins, they should come off very easily.
Cut the beets into quarters lengthwise and then those pieces in half crosswise.
Place the beets and watercress in separate bowls. Divide the dressing between the 2 bowls. Toss the watercress and beets until evenly coated with the dressing.
Spread the watercress out on a serving platter to make a bed for the beets. Crumble the cold cheese into the beets and toss gently. Spread the beets over the bed of watercress and sprinkle with remaining lemon juice. Serve immediately.