The beautiful beets and carrots harvested at the same time in the early fall by our local farm supplier inspired this recipe.
Feta is a brined sheep’s-milk or cow’s-milk cheese made in many places, but the European Union recently mandated that only feta from Greece can be called “feta” so we’ll start to see a bunch of “Greek-Style Salad Cheeses” in grocery stores. My favorite feta, Valbreso, is from France, is 100 percent sheep’s milk, and is for sale at Kroger in Athens, Georgia. If I can get it in Athens, chances are good your neighborhood grocer has it. If you live in a very isolated place, then order your feta from Amazon.com.
Vinaigrettes need balance and should be made with the other salad components in mind. If you are dressing salty feta, scale back on the salt content in the dressing.
1 teaspoon salt 1 pound baby carrots, peeled, 1/2 inch of green top left on 1 pound baby beets, cleaned but not peeled 1/4 pound feta 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup Cumin Vinaigrette (recipe follows) 1 cup pulled fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil, add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, then add the carrots. Blanch for 1 minute and remove to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, remove and set aside.
Place the beets in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer until the beets are tender. Strain the beets and peel them using paper towels to rub off the skin. This is easier when they are still warm.
Crumble the feta and set aside.
Toss the carrots with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil and place them on half of a rimmed baking sheet. Toss the beets with the remaining olive oil and place on the other half of the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.
Remove the beets and carrots from the oven and place in separate bowls. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and 1/2 cup of the parsley to the beets and toss. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette, the remaining parsley, and the feta to the carrots and toss. Divide the carrots evenly among 6 plates. Then divide the beets evenly among the plates and gently mix with the carrots. Drizzle with a touch more of the vinaigrette.
Makes 3/4 cup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan and then pulverized
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the Dijon mustard in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil, then the lemon juice and the sherry vinegar. Add the cumin and the mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The vinaigrette will last for 10 days in the fridge.
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