Saturday, July 9, 2011
This simple-but-delicious salad was inspired by the first idea on Mark Bittman's list of 101 picnic dishes, after a couple of friends and I decided to have an after-work meal on the Brooklyn Promenade. I wasn't sure about presenting people with raw beets (I like them, but they're a bit weird), so I decided to roast mine, and change up the ingredients a bit to match the sweetness of roasted beets. Sorry the photos aren't very clear, I didn't think about the effect of beet-colored bowls on my pictures.
2-3 large beets
about 1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon for drizzling
zest and juice of one medium orange
balsamic vinegar to taste
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup pea or clover sprouts, chopped
1/3-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Rinse and scrub the beets clean, and trim off any dangling ends. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil, and wrap each one in tinfoil. Place the packets on a baking sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes, or until they're tender enough for a dinner knife to sink in without much pressure.
Remove from oven and let rest until they're cool enough to handle. Remove the skin with your fingers (I find that running the beet under water while I do this makes it easier and less messy), and use a knife to trim off any remaining rough patches.
Roughly chop the beets and toss with olive oil (be generous but don't drench them), balsamic vinegar, juice, and orange zest. Top with pistachios, sprouts, and feta, then serve. If you're not going to eat this right away, or have to transport it, I recommend keeping the toppings separate until the last minute, both because they get soggy and because the presentation is nicer before everything turns pink from the beets.
Here's a slightly blurry photo of the salad all mixed up in my lunchbox. I ate this stuff for four out of six meals over three days and didn't get bored.
Another shot of the salad, eaten with some "crab" cakes made from onigiri leftovers (topped with sriracha mayo). I think I'd basically run out of the pistachios and sprouts by this point.