A Night in the Mediterranean

Tonight we enjoyed a Mediterranean feast, with healthy brown rice, fish cooked in parchment paper seasoned with fresh lemon slices and leeks, and a glorious beet and goat cheese salad. All the ingredients harmonized nicely together. It was the first time I had ever prepared fish in paper, and while a very tasty broth was created in the pan, the fish itself ended up slightly undercooked and not remotely flaky. Clearly I will have to try again, with nicer fish and a different recipe. But the beet and goat cheese salad was wonderful, utilizing my favorite blanching method for crisp green beans, and dressed in a very easy and light red wine vinaigrette. If all salads were like that, I might have to rethink my indifference to the world of salads.

Fresh Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad
Beet Salad Loveliness
Beet Salad Loveliness
2 lb fresh beetroot (4 bulbs with leaves)
6 1/2 oz green beans
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, crushed (or omit)
1 tbsp drained and rinsed capers, chopped
3 1/2 oz goat’s cheese (any variety)
Salt, Pepper to taste
Trim leaves from beets, wash beets and leaves, reserve leaves. Bring bulbs to a boil in salted water, and then simmer covered for 30 minutes or until you can pierce them with a knife.

Bring another pan of water to boil and boil beans for about 3 minutes or until tender.(Keep water in pan) Immerse in cold water to stop the cooking process, then drain. Boil beetroot leaves in same water until tender (3-5 min). Immerse leaves in water, drain and pat dry with towel. (or use salad spinner). Drain and cool beetroots. Immerse in cool water to remove skin, or if they are actually cool, use paper towel to remove skin. (Thank you Alton Brown). Cut bulb into appetizing wedges. (You can immerse these wedges in cool water to cool them faster). [No, patience is NOT one of my virtues.]

For dressing, combine red wine vinegar, oil, garlic (if desired), capers, 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper, in jar with lid. I like to use the salad dressing jar free in Italian Seasoning dressing blends packages. Shake, Shake, Shake. Look! It’s all nicely emulsified! (If you put down the dressing and do something else for a while, shake again before pouring as the oil and vinegar gradually separates.)

To serve, divide beans, beetroot leaves and bulbs among 3-4 plates. Drizzle dressing and crumble goat cheese over top of each serving. Delicious with Bette Hagman’s rapid rise french bread or rice as a side dish.

Yummy! DH said “What’s not to like? Beets, goat cheese, Mmmmm..” I have to agree. A nice way to sneak some greens into someone’s diet… Not that I would do such a thing, cough cough. Goat cheese is the yummiest thing EVER! Original recipe called for whole garlic clove, but I felt that it overpowered the recipe.

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