Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Sunday, July 3, 2011

When life gives you lemons, make salad

Sorry to leave my faithful readers (both of you) hanging for the continuation of the side salad saga: Creations from Citrus. Our lemon tree is full (again) of nicely ripe lemons, so lemons are used pretty liberally right now at my house. It would be a huge adjustment for me to have to cook without having a tree to pluck lemons whenever I need. Almost as bad as not having an herb garden. 

I have published some of my citrus-based side salads before, like Mediterranean Couscous Salad, Vegetable Rice Salad, Greek Salad, and Corn and Bean Salad. Interesting tidbit: lemon juice based dressings are common in Middle Eastern food, because they historically don’t drink alcohol… so no wine, no vinegar, no vinaigrette based dressings.

In general, the dressings are 4 parts olive oil to 3 parts lemon (or lime) juice plus herbs. Personally, I like lemons and the acid bite, so I typically do more like a 1:1 ratio. And if you are using Meyer lemons, I would reverse the ratio, 3:4 (more lemon juice) because they just are not as sour.  Lemons pair wonderfully with many different herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, dill, oregano, mint) and will keep them from turning brown.

Beet salads just have a spectacular color, especially if you use red beets. It is a bit of a pain to cook them, I try to do ahead if I’m baking something else, just refrigerate after they have cooled, and they will hold for a day or so.

Beet and Orange Salad

Serves 4

1 pound gold and/or red beets
2 oranges
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ a small red onion (or sweet white onion) thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons chopped herbs, such as mint, dill, parley, or basil
Salt, Pepper
1 oz goat cheese

Cook the beets: Scrub and trim the beets. Halve if large. Put in a shallow glass baking dish, add a ½ inch of water and a drizzle of olive oil. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes in a 400F oven or until they are tender. Drain. When they are cool enough to handle, peel. (note – you can also peel them first then roast).

Prepare the oranges (start when the beets come out of the oven): Zest one of the oranges, put zest into bowl large enough to make the salad. Section the oranges by first cutting the peel off the top and bottom, then down the sides to expose the sections. With a small knife, cut out each section and put into the bowl. Catch the juice in the same bowl, and when the sections are out, squeeze any remaining juice from the membranes into the bowl. Add the lemon juice and onion slices plus a bit of salt to the oranges and let sit for 10 minutes.

Add the beets, olive oil, herbs and freshly ground pepper; stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if needed. Serve with goat cheese crumbles on top.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!