Sides


Roasted Beets and

Potato Salad

8 golden beets, 1-1.5 in. in diameter

8 baby red beets, 1-1.5 in. in diameter

8 baby Chioggia beets, 1-1.5 in. in diameter   (I don’t know what Chioggia beets are. I’m sure they’re wonderful.  But my Whole Foods didn’t have them.  And finding any beets that were 1-1.5 in. in diameter was impossible.  No problem.  Get 3-4 red beets, 4-5 golden beets and cut them up after they’re cooked. )

3 T canola oil (I know Thomas Keller wouldn’t approve, but I used EVOO).

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 oz. marble potatoes, about 1 in. in diameter

6 oz. purple marble potatoes, about 1 in. in diameter

6 oz. Bintje creamer potatoes or small Red Bliss, about 1 in. in diameter.  (Stay with me. I don’t know what Bintje potatoes are either.  It doesn’t matter. Get about 1 lb and a half of small potatoes. You can find little bags of gold and red ones in the produce section.  Mine weren’t purple or 1 in. in diameter either, but it’s fine.)

3 Sachets (put a bay leaf, 3 thyme sprigs, a handful of whole black peppercorns and 1 clove of smashed and peeled garlic in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie it up.)

Kosher salt

4 soft-cooked eggs (This is KEY.  I don’t know how you’ve been cooking hard boiled eggs, but this rocked my world.  Bring a pot of water to a rapid simmer.  Lower the eggs into the water with a slotted spoon.  Cover the pot.  Remove from heat.  Let stand for 7-8 minutes.  Transfer the eggs to an ice bath.  These are the best soft cooked eggs ever.  Firm white, slightly soft (but not runny) yolk.  YUM!)

EVOO

1 T. minced shallot

1 1/2 c. chicory leaves (I completely cheated and used spinach.  Couldn’t find chicory leaves.)

12 slices of smoked salmon (I left this out, but I can see how it would be good.)

Mustard Vinaigrette:  Put 1/2 c. champagne vinegar in a bowl.  Whisk in 2 t. Dijon mustard.  Whisking constantly, slowly stream in 1-1/2 c. EVOO until emulsified and smooth.  Whisk in 1 t. whole grain mustard. (Salt to taste.)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Trim the beets.  Wrap each type of beet in foil; one packet for red, one packet for golden. Seal well.  Put packets on a baking sheet and roast for 30 min. to an hour.  (If your beets are larger, it will take longer.  Like potatoes.  My large red beets took about an hour.)

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into quarters (or small bite-sized pieces).  Put the potatoes in a pan.  Add the sachet and and 2 t. of salt. Cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 10 min.  (Obviously if your beets are going to take an hour, don’t start the pots right now.  Have some wine instead.)

When beets are done roasting and they have cooled enough to touch, peel them.  (Here’s a beet tip from Thomas Keller: Use paper towels. It works great.  Also, don’t let the red beets mix with the golden beets, or you will have a bunch of pink beets.  And P.S., the red stain isn’t as bad on your fingers as you’d think.  The paper towels help with that too.) Refrigerate the beets until chilled.  Cut up in small pieces and place in a bowl.  (I didn’t chill my beets.  I wanted them warm. It was still awesome.)

To serve (it really is easier than it seems): Put the potatoes in a large bowl, add the shallot and drizzle with a bout 2/3 of the dressing. (The warm potatoes will absorb some of the dressing.  How cool is that?) Toss the beets (SEPARATELY, so you don’t have pink mush) with a little EVOO, salt and pepper.

Arrange 1/3 potatoes on a platter (if you’re using spinach or greens, arrange them first, under the potatoes). Scatter about 1/3 of the beets (both kinds) over them. Continue layering, (adding the chicory and smoked salmon, if using) as you go. Peel the eggs and slice them in half.  Layer the salad with sliced eggs.  Drizzle with dressing, a little salt and pepper and dig in.

This is awesome.  It is healthy and yummy.  For the salad lovers, it is hearty enough for a main dish, or serve it with grilled chicken thighs or a nice piece of salmon for something more.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dish.  In fact, I LOVE this whole cookbook.  Check out this link for a few more recipes. Recipes from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home Cookbook — The Delicious Life Now go buy the book.  It’s worth it.

Recipe by Thomas Keller, from Ad Hoc at Home,

Photograph by Deborah Jones (actually I took a picture of her picture, but you get the idea.)

Italicized comments by The Fool.


Grilled Veggie Salad with Feta

1 small or 1/2 medium fennel bulb with fronds attached

1 medium orange bell pepper (or red or yellow), stemmed, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 4 or 5 pieces

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices  (I replaced this with a small eggplant. Come on, it’s purple.)
1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices  (I replaced this with some portobello mushrooms.  You lose the yellow color, but squash gets on my nerves.)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved  (I like regular old cherry tomatoes.  My husband prefers the  sweeter grape variety.  Mine are better.  Duh.)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2-1/2 oz.)  (If you don’t like feta, use goat or even a good parm.  But for real, you should like feta. Everyone’s doing it.)
3 Tbs. loosely packed thinly sliced fresh basil  (Basil is like garlic.  Use MORE.)

Cut the stalks off the fennel bulb. Try growing your own fennel sometime.  It’s easy and then you’ll be dusting everything with fennel fronds.  Even the house.  Just kidding.  I don’t dust. Remove about 1/4 cup of the fronds from the stalks, chop the fronds, and reserve. Cut the fennel in quarters lengthwise and trim away most of the core, leaving just enough intact to keep the layers together. Slice the quarters lengthwise 1/4 inch thick.

Prepare a medium gas or charcoal grill fire (alternatively, use an indoor grill pan over medium-high heat). Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a tray or work surface. Brush both sides of the vegetables with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and season with 1/4 tsp. salt (Please don’t measure the salt.  It’s not that fussy.  Just toss some around on the veggies, like confetti at a party.  Use some pepper here too.)

Grill the vegetables in batches, flipping once, until both sides are nicely charred and the vegetables are just tender, about 12 minutes total for the fennel, 10 minutes total for the pepper, and 6 minutes total for the onion and squash. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/2-inch dice and transfer to a large bowl.

Here’s another option:  lather all of it with the holy trinity (EVOO, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper) and then roast it on a sheet pan, at like, I dk, 425.  Still do it in batches, with the eggplant, if you’re using, being first, then the fennel and pepper, and last the onion and mushrooms.  You lose the flavor of the grill, but sometimes grilling sucks.  Like when it’s raining or there’s a tornado or something.  Also, if you do this, you can cut the veggies into edible size immediately, before you cook them.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, the vinegar, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper (It’s probably not necessary to measure the salt and pepper here either. It’s just a dressing, not a science experiment.  Go wild!  Season with abandon!  Do it to taste.) Toss the vegetables with the dressing. Gently stir in the tomatoes and fennel fronds. Season to taste with more salt and pepper (YEAH!). Divide the salad among 4 plates and sprinkle with the feta and basil.

I love veggies, and this is a perfect main dish for me.  For most everyone else it is a side.  Whatever.  It goes well with grilled chicken (thighs are best) or almost any other meat.  It’s light and easy and perfect for summer nights when it is just too hot to even think.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 240; Fat (kcal): 18; Fat Calories (g): 160; Saturated Fat (g): 4.5; Protein (g): 6; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 16; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 390; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 4;
Recipe by Ellie Krieger.  Italicized comments by The Fool.
Photo by Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 104, pp. 33
March 4, 2010

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