Monday, June 25, 2012

Beet & Beet-Greens Salad

We have an amazing crop of beets this year, one of my favorite vegetables from the garden.  An old friend is coming to visit today and I wanted to make something special with the beets for lunch.  I'm ashamed to say that I often compost the beet greens, favoring the sweet beet root--I could eat them every day.  A recipe by David Tanis in last Wednesday's New York Times inspired me to use the beet greens in this dish.  I hew pretty close to the recipe--with the addition of honey, of course!  This dish will use up a few bowls and took me about 40 minutes to make.  It was worth it, though!

Beet & Beet-Green Salad

makes about 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds medium beets in skin, well washed 
12 to 16 ounces beet greens (or chard or other greens)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil (doesn't have to be extra virgin)
kosher salt
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
(If you don't have coriander and cumin seeds in your spice cupboard, then used ground cumin and, if you'd like, some cilantro--the flavor will be a bit different.)

1/3 cup red onion or shallot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon toasted cumin-coriander mixture
Pinch cayenne
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup full-fat plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch cayenne
1 teaspoon toasted cumin-coriander mixture
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly snipped dill for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Trim the tops off the beets and scrub them well.  Line a baking dish (or cookie sheet with sides) with a large enough piece of tinfoil that will be able to enclose the beets completely.  Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on the foil, add the beets so that they are in one layer.  Sprinkle 1-2 more tablespoons of olive oil on top and toss the beets so they are thoroughly coated in oil.  Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon kosher salt on top.  Completely enclose the beets in the aluminium foil and roast in the oven about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how big those beets are).  Remove from oven and let them sit to steam and then cool a bit while you work on the rest of the dish.  them in a baking dish in one layer (if some beets are larger, halve them so they will cook evenly). When the beets are cool, open up the foil and slip off the skins--the skins should slip off easily if the beets are fully cooked. Cut into wedges.

Chop the beet greens into ribbons and then wash very well.  Add the greens to the pot of boiling salted water and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain, cool under running water, then squeeze out excess water.

In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant and just lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Grind to a coarse powder. 

Put the onion, garlic and vinegar in a small bowl and leave for 5 minutes or so, then whisk in the remaining ingredients.

Put the yogurt in small bowl. Add the garlic, honey, salt and pepper, cayenne, cumin-coriander mixture, mint and olive oil.

Season the beet wedges lightly with salt and dress with half the vinaigrette. In a separate bowl, lightly salt the greens and dress with remaining vinaigrette. Arrange dressed beets and greens on a platter and top with a little smear of the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with dill, and pass the rest of the yogurt sauce at the table. 

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