Monday, March 31, 2008

Beet Salad with Feta

Mmmmm....beets. Did I just say that? My only exposure to beets as a child was on the occasional restaurant salad, where they were canned and pickled or something like that. I remember picking them off, but remaining curious about the vibrant pink juice that they produced and how it made my Ranch dressing such a stylish color. They weren't terribly offensive, just not my bag.

When I first started my blog just over a month ago, I stated that my goal was to try a new ingredient each week that I had never worked with before. This qualifies, big time. Other recent ingredients new to me were polenta grits and fennel.

From reading up a little, I gathered that the best way to serve these was roasted or cooked, sliced up in a salad with a light vinaigrette. Sounds easy enough. I didn't want to mess with the oven, so I just boiled them for 10 minutes. After I peeled and sliced them, I found that they were still a little crisp-tender on the inside, which was fine by me. Didn't realize the potency of the juice and the aftermath on my hands:

Anyways, after my experience today, I can't say that I "love" beets, but they were pretty darn tasty and it just felt like they were good for me. They lended a subtle earthy slant to my lunch, which was balanced by the lemony dressing and pungent feta. I only used 2 of the 4 and so you might see a post soon for some kind of beet soup.

Beet Salad with Feta

2 beets, cooked, peeled and sliced
handful of greens (I used baby greens and spinach)
1 T. feta cheese
8 pistachios, chopped

2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. Dijon
2 T. light olive oil

Use most of the dressing to coat the warm beets, and let sit for 30 minutes. Prepare dressing. Lightly dress the greens with rest of dressing. Put everything on a plate and sprinkle with feta and nuts and serve.


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Kathy aka the Minx said...

I love beets. I grew up eating my grandmother's barszcz (Polish beet borcht) and there was usually a jar of pickled beets in the fridge.

They do dye your hands and make a mess, so when I'm in the mood for beets, I buy precooked ones that they sell in some supermarkets (Whole Foods, Wegman's). I like them with goat's cheese, which seems to be a perfect flavor match when used in a salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.

LouAnne said...

I LOVE beets, but I roast them, it really helps develop more sweetness so the earthiness is more subtle. There are so many varieties also, and they look beautiful when sliced. Golden beets will not stain as much, your hands or your salad dressing!

I like a garlicky dressing - peel a clove and scrape it against the tines of a fork in the bottom of a bowl. Add kosher salt, golden balsamic vinegar and a small blob of dijon. Combine then wisk in olive oil to desired consistency. The garlic-fork trick is from Jacques Pepin!