September 30, 2012
Beet Salad with Fresh Basil Dressing
Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir
My friend Cynthia Lair teaches at Bastyr University (a naturopathic university near Seattle), is the author of “Feeding the Whole Family” and “Feeding the Young Athlete” (which has just been re-released), and even has an online cooking series called Cookus Interruptus. Cynthia prepared this recipe during the Pike Place Market’s summertime cooking demonstration series years ago, and I printed the recipe in the second edition of the “Pike Place Market Cookbook.” Thanks, Cynthia!
4 large beets
1 bunch beet greens
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (see Techniques section)
2 green onions, white and pale green part only, finely chopped
Fresh Basil Dressing (recipe follows)
1/4 pound feta cheese (optional)
1. To prepare the beets, rinse them and remove the tops. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the beets. Lower the heat and simmer 1 hour, or until the beets are tender. Set aside to cool. When cool, peel the beets, cut them into small cubes, and reserve.
2. To prepare the beet greens, rinse them by submerging the bunch in a sink or large pot full of cold water. Shake off the excess water and chop the bunch into bite-sized pieces.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the greens. Cook 30 seconds, or just until the stems are tender. Place the greens in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out the excess water and reserve the greens.
4. When ready to serve, place the cubed beets, beet greens, pumpkin seeds, and green onion in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to mix. Crumble feta over the top. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Fresh Basil Dressing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1. Place all the ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake well to mix. If not using immediately, refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cook’s Hint: If beet greens are unavailable, Cynthia suggests substituting raw watercress, spinach, or arugula leaves that have been well rinsed and spun dry or collard greens that have been well rinsed, coarsely chopped, and cooked until tender in the same way as described above for the beet greens.