Sunday, August 23, 2015

Beet and Fennel Salad

I have only recently become fond of beets and my husband and I are committed to cooking and eating them at least once a week. While I can eat them just plain or toss them onto a green salad, I've been experimenting a little with some alternative ideas. This is a simple recipe with just two ingredients. Yes. I said TWO.

6 medium sized beets
1 medium fennel bulb with fronds

What's a fennel bulb? Yeah, that's what the checker asked me when he picked it up and said, "what is this thing?" 

I told him it was fennel. He said he had never heard of fennel and couldn't find it in his produce book of codes. "Try anise," I said. He did find it listed as anise; a common mistake in most grocery stores. It's like yams and sweet potatoes. So similar, it doesn't really matter.  What you need to know about fennel is that you can use the stalks just like you would celery and you can use the leaves, or fronds, just like you would fresh dill. At least that's how I think about it when deciding how to use it!

I use two different methods to cook beets. Remove greens and trim bottom from any extending root tail.

1.  Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook at 400 degrees for about an hour.

2.  Boil in a large stock pot. I have a "waterless" stockpot which is great for cooking vegetables and retaining most of the nutrients. The "quotes" are there because despite the name, you do need about an inch of water in the bottom of the pot.

In either case, cook the beets until they are easily pierced with a knife. Rinse and let cool. Peel beets by simply rubbing the skins under cold water. Cut beets into bite sized pieces.

Cut the bulb of the fennel as if it were a celery stalk. Remove hard bottom part and slice the rest of the stalk portions into thin slices.  Chop up about 1/2 cup of the green fronds.

Mix the fennel and beets together.  That's it! I like the purist version of this dish without adding any kind of dressing or sauces. If you want a little something to add, try a little balsamic vinegar.


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