Here is a simple salad perfect for your Valentine. This recipe uses roasted beets in a manner different than most people may be familiar with.
1 bunch red beets with leaves or 3 medium beets
½ bulb fennel
2 each red radish
½ tbsp fresh hand picked dill fronds, NOT chopped
½ tbsp fresh hand picked flat leaf parsley leaves, NOT chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
drizzle of local honey
2 tbsp CITRUS VINAIGRETTE (see recipe in this edition)
MISE EN PLACE : If not starting with whole bunched beets, start with the next paragraph. Otherwise bring 2 quarts water to a boil.
Separate beet leaves from stem. Save stems for other uses like in a sauté of vegetables for a side dish. Prepare an ice bath (1-2 quarts) in a bowl. Drop leaves into boiling water for 10 seconds, immediately remove and add to ice bath. Allow to cool and drain on paper towels.
Heat oven to 350F. Wash beets in cold water. Peel and dice into ½ inch cubes (wear rubber gloves to avoid stains to the hand). Toss in olive oil, thyme sprigs, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and top with the sprigs of thyme. Bake until tender, approx 25 minutes. Allow to cool on baking rack.
Slice the fennel paper thin (use mandolin if you have one) and keep in cold water until needed. Do the same with the radish.
Cut the beet leaves into ¼ inch strips.
ASSEMBLY: Place beets and leaves in medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of the roasted thyme leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add half the dressing and toss to coat. Arrange on a platter. To the same bowl add drained fennel, radish and picked parsley. Toss with remaining dressing and arrange on top of the beets. Pour remaining dressing over everything and garnish cheese, a drizzle of honey and dill fronds.