From September until March flavorful beets are especially easy to find. Get creative and add them to your salads. If you are a beet lover, this combination of beets, apples, sautéed shallots, fresh dill and crispy fried tarragon is a must try.
I am a big fan of fresh beets – boiled, steamed, roasted and even raw – though they are messy to prepare, so be careful when choosing your work surface. Before you add them to salad, you need to get rid of the paper-thin skin first. Use a vegetable peeler to peel it when it’s raw or when using cooked beets, just rub off its thin skin with a paper towel after they are cool enough to handle.
Beet greens can also be used – in a salad or steamed. So if the beets you are buying have them stems attached, make sure first that they look fresh enough to eat (this indicates how fresh the beets are too) and remove the greens from the roots and store in plastic bag and refrigerate. Beet roots, stored in plastic, will keep for at least a month, but you should use the greens within a few days.
Baby beet greens are a common ingredient in field green salads. I prefer to use these in salads and they are more tender than the mature beet greens, which are fantastic steamed!
3-4 small red beets, peeled and sliced thinly with a mandoline
1 Braeburn apple (or other crisp, tangy variety), peeled, cored and sliced thinly
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon good-quality red wine vinegar
1 red onion, sliced thinly in rings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup vegetable broth (60 ml)
1 tablespoon cloudy apple juice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
4 fresh tarragon sprigs
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil, for frying (60-80 ml)
1. Served over a bed of 2 cups baby beet greens, rinsed and chopped
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the beet slices. Stir once and immediately remove with a large slotted spoon. Set aside to drain in a colander.
3. In a medium bowl, add the apple slices and the warm beets. Add the vinegar and carefully combine. Cover the bowl and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
4. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil and fry the onions until soft, add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the apple juice and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside to cool.
5. Once cooled, add the onion mixture to the beets and apple and carefully combine. Cover the bowl and allow to marinate for a further 10 minutes.
6. In a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and fry the tarragon sprigs in for about 2-3 minutes. Make sure that the oil is not too hot, otherwise the tarragon will burn. During frying, the tarragon loses its rustic flavors, and becomes very fine and slightly crispy. Once crisp, remove the tarragon sprigs and transfer them to a place with lined with paper towel.
7. Add the olive oil from the pan to the salad and stir to combine carefully so that the slices remain whole.
8. Place the baby beet greens on a serving platter and scoop the beets over the bed of greens. Garnish with the fresh dill and the fried tarragon. Season with salt and pepper, according to taste.