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.
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):
17, Fat Calories
150, Saturated Fat
8, Monounsaturated Fat
20, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips