Photograph by Sang An
With all due respect to the classic pairing of beets and goat cheese, there are other ways to serve cooked beets! Take this salad, which tosses them with preserved lemon, fennel, basil and capers. The lemon and capers act as a tangy counterpart to the sweet Mediterranean root, and the fresh fennel adds delicious crunch.
2 pounds medium beets, ends trimmed and scrubbed
2 small fennel bulbs, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brine-packed capers, drained, patted dry, and roughly chopped
10 large basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
3 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1) Preheat the oven to 400° F. Wrap each beet tightly in a piece of aluminum foil and place in a baking dish. Roast in the oven until a fork can be easily inserted into the center, 50 to 70 minutes. (Time will vary depending on the size of your beets, so start checking at 50 minutes and keep cooking if not soft.) Remove from the oven and let cool to the touch. Use a paper towel to rub off the skin, or peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets into bite-size pieces. (Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)
2) Combine the beets, fennel, capers, basil and preserved lemon peel in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad and gently toss to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes. Divide the salad among plates and serve.
Recipes reprinted with permission from “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen,” Chronicle Books (2015), by Leah Koenig.