Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Best Beet Salad

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Best Beet Salad, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

Root veggies are magical. Rough and dusty on the outside and so surprisingly sweet and vibrantly red on the inside. Beets happen to be my favorite. Hence the header to this blog…There’s something almost sexy about them. Is it the way they taper from a nice bulbous handful down to that little fragile tip?

Anyway, now that I’ve got you sufficiently turned on…

Beets are a good source of folacin (folic acid), which helps your body make new cells. This is why beets are especially good for women (and especially, especially good for pregnant women and vegetarians) because they prevent anemia by stimulating red blood cells. They’re also a wonderful source of vitamins A and C and potassium, as well as fiber, iron and calcium. A lot of holistic practitioners believe that beet juice combined with other juices like carrot and cucumber cleanse the kidneys and gallbladder.

According to the Encyclopedia on Healing Juices, beets (& beet juice) are blood-building herb that detoxifies blood and renews it with minerals and natural sugars. This encyclopedia goes on to note that there may be substances in beets that aid circulation. Which makes total sense because red blood cells carry oxygen! Back to the salad though…

fork

Typically, I like to use the leaves and stems of the beets, but it doesn’t really work out with this particular dish. So snip them off. Give the beets a nice scrub and rinse; cut them in half and put them to boil. They’ll take a while to cook. I’d give them about 15 minutes and then stab then with a fork to check where they’re at. Cook them till they’re tender, but not mushy. Mushy beets are gross.

boil

When your beets are done, dump the water out of the pot and rinse them with cold water. Then let them cool a little so you can hold them because now you’re going to remove the skin. All you have to do is rub their surface with a paper towel and all that thick skin comes right off.

ruboff

Then you’re left with this gruesome pile.

grosspile

Once they’re totally cool, I like to remove the excess water from them by pressing them between a couple paper towels. Then get to slicing. A mandolin works best of course. I have a mini one that rules. But if you don’t, just use a knife. Cut them about a ¼ inch thick.

process

The dressing is easy—it’s just fig vinegar, shallots, lemon thyme and salt and pepper. You may have never noticed it before, but you’ll find fig vinegar on the same shelf as all the other vinegars at the supermarket (it’s cheap). I like to prepare my dressings in a vessel with a lid (I use glass jars) that way I can shake the hell out of them.

dressing

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Recipe

Cook/Prep time: 25 mins. Serves 4. If you don’t have fig vinegar, use sherry or red wine vinegar as a sub.

You need:

  • 3 red beets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful lemon thyme (or thyme + ¼ tsp lemon zest)
  • 4 tablespoons fig vinegar
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

Directions

  1. Snip off beet stems and leaves (you don’t need them). Give the beets a nice scrub and rinse; cut them in half and put them to boil. Give them about 15 minutes and then stab then with a fork to check where they’re at. Cook them till they’re tender, but not mushy. Mushy beets are gross.
  2. When your beets are done, dump the water out of the pot and rinse them with cold water. Let cool a little to handle because now you’re going to remove the skin. Simply rub their surface with a paper towel and all that thick skin comes right off.
  3. Once totally cool, remove excess water by pressing them between a couple paper towels. Then get to slicing. A mandolin works best of course. Otherwise, just use a knife. Cut them about a ¼ inch thick.
  4. The dressing is easy—combine fig vinegar, and olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, diced shallot and lemon thyme and agave or honey. If you don’t have lemon thyme, regular thyme is fine. Just also add ¼ teaspoon of lemon zest to compensate. Shake the hell out of it in a jar or lidded container.
  5. Serve beets spread on a flat plate. Spoon dressing on top and top with extra thyme sprig for pretty factor.

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