Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beets again?

Who knew five pounds of beets would feed us for a week? We have a ruby red soup in the fridge that is brilliant hot or cold, we had the Pepto Bismol colored Beets au Gratin, and now we've had Beet Salad with Citrus, Fennel, and Feta.

Which has to be the ugliest looking mess to ever come out of a kitchen, but tasted so zingy, I had to forgive it. Even if we hadn't eaten it all, there would have been no photos. So far nothing has been as photogenic as chocolate waffles. Which actually might have more to do with the photographer than anything else...

This salad is good when first mixed, but we had it with our lunch again today, and it was twice as good. The fennel was still crunchy, and the citrus had had time to work its juicy magic with the beets...yum.

I'm starting to think of beets as the apple of the root veggie world. Apples pair so well with so many things, and can go from hot to warm to cold; beets are the same. Things I love paired with beets:

*anything salty, like feta cheese
*toasted nuts, especially walnuts
*oranges and other slightly sweet citrus
*crunchy things, like walnuts above, and fennel
*a shot of vinegar
*other root veggies (duh), especially carrots and onions
*risotto, which I haven't made in a long time but is awesome

Don't get me wrong, beets will never replace tomatoes in my heart, but since most tomatoes right now greatly resemble anemic, red-colored plastic, beets it is! (Until I buy more chard. I love me some chard.)

Beet Salad with Citrus, Fennel, and Feta
(barely) adapted from Bon Appetit

2 large beets, any color                                            2.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 large oranges, skin and pith peeled away and segmented over a large bowl to catch the juice for the dressing
1/2 small fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced (don't kill yourself about the thinly)
1/4 cup chopped mint                                            1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts (the recipe called for hazelnuts, but I only like those in Nutella)
salt and pepper                                                      3/4 cup feta
finely chopped shallot, or chopped chives (I used chives; had some getting ready to go)

If roasting the beets (which I recommend, but boiled would be just fine) preheat the oven to 400. Place the beets on a double layer of foil drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, wrap tightly and roast for about 1 hour. Uncover, cool slightly, and peel. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In the bowl with the orange juice, whisk in vinegar and remaining olive oil. Add all other ingredients and toss. If you want the feta to stay white, sprinkle it on right before serving. This is even better if the ingredients have time to meld.

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