Monday, November 5, 2012
Last week, when I got back from a week of eating my way through Torino, what I was really craving were salads and vegetables. You know what it’s like when you’re on the road. Even with the best of intentions, veggies are usually few and far between.
So after mentally committing myself to a week of vegetable-centric meals, time and weather intervened to throw me off track. Because to eat vegetables, you actually have to leave the house and buy them. Rarely do they miraculously appear in your fridge.
Last Monday, at the end of a very long day in front of the computer, I looked up from my desk to see that not only was it 8pm, but it was also pouring outside. No way was I running out in the hopes that the fruttivendolo might still be open, to buy a head of lettuce or a bunch of broccoli.
That's when I I opened the fridge. And a miracle occurred. The miracle of the beets.
Because that shadowy thing in the bottom drawer of my fridge turned out to be a small bag of beets I had bought at the farmer’s market 2 weeks earlier.
While I’m usually pretty good at using up produce in a timely fashion, these beets - luckily - had escaped my notice.
Since there were only four pretty puny beets (beggars can’t be choosers) I bulked up the salad with a fat red onion. A sprinkling of toasted almonds for crunch and drizzle of balsamic honey vinaigrette and I was back on track.
And I guess the Balsamic Honey dressing is the only part of this post you can really call a recipe. It’s a dressing that I’ve been using for the last few weeks and have become slightly addicted to. I’m usually not a huge fan of balsamic vinegar, but (full disclosure) the folks at Sesto Senso sent me a pretty big bottle a while back. Which I love. It’s not the super-aged, thick-as-syrup stuff, but it’s true balsamic and just mellow enough to work for me on all kinds of chunky fall vegetable salads. I mix it up with a bit of honey, olive oil and some dijon mustard to add spice. A splash of vinegar adds extra acidity, and balances out the sweetness
So while I’ve been very loyal to my vegetable commitment, making regular trips to the Farmer's Market and the fruttivendolo, I admit that I’ve also been making things a bit more lively with this dressing.
And FYI, there have been no further vegetable miracles occurring in my refrigerator. Will keep you posted on that.
4 smallish beets
1 red onion
3 tablespoons chopped, toasted almonds
Balsamic Honey vinaigrette*
Preheat oven to 180c/ 350f.
Wash and dry the beets, and coat lightly with olive oil.
Place beets in small oven pan, and cover tightly with tin foil.
Bake in oven till tender, about an hour.
When cool enough to handle, peel and slice very thinly. Layer on a platter.
Top with sliced red onion and almonds.
Drizzle dressing over, and add salt and pepper to taste.
*Balsamic Honey Mustard Dressing
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fruity vinegar (I used some Finnish cranberry vinegar)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Place the mustard and honey in a small bowl and blend with a small whisk. Slowly add olive oil, stirring so it amalgamates well. Add vinegars, and stir.