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Herb, Feta & Beet Salad

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Serves four.

This is a composed salad with four parts: beets, feta, herbs, and a very simple vinaigrette. The four elements only meet at the last minute on the plate.

For the vinaigrette:
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 tsp. red-wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. walnut oil or pecan oil
For the beets:
  • 1-1/2 lb. red beets (3 to 4 medium)
  • 2 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
For the herb salad:
  • Tarragon leaves picked from 2 fresh sprigs (2 Tbs.)
  • 8 fresh chives, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 Tbs.)
  • Marjoram leaves picked from 1 fresh sprig (1 tsp.)
  • 2 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (1/2 cup packed)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh chervil
  • 3 cups mesclun greens, or a mix of sliced sorrel, watercress, arugula, and mizuna
For the feta:
  • 1/4 lb. feta, cut into 4 slabs, each about 2 inches square and 1/4 inch thick
To make the vinaigrette

In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the vinegar. Whisk in the nut oil.

To prepare the beets

Wash the beets and cut off the leaves. Trim off the tough lower stems and discard any yellow or bruised leaves; wash and reserve any small, healthy leaves.

In a large saucepan or a stockpot with a steamer basket, steam the beets until a paring knife enters them easily, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on their size. Set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm. Peel the beets; the skin will pull right off. Cut them in half and then in 1/4-inch slices so you end up with half-moons. Put the beets in a bowl and splash them with the vinegar while they're still warm. Toss with some of the vinaigrette, enough to lightly coat (save the rest for the herb salad).

To prepare the herbs

In a large bowl, combine all the herbs and greens (including any reserved beet leaves). Toss with enough vinaigrette to just lightly coat the leaves.

To compose the salad

On a large serving platter, arrange the beet half-moons. Lay the feta slabs on the beets, and then pile the herb salad on top. You could also arrange the salad in the same way on four individual serving plates.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 250; Fat (g): fat g 17; Fat Calories (kcal): 150; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 20; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 700; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 25; Fiber (g): fiber g 6;

Photo: Scott Phillips

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