Gimme a Beet! Last Night’s Easy-Peezy Beet Salad

20 May

On my way out to hang with my Dad yesterday–a strong, sunny dazzler of an afternoon in this most bizarre of spring seasons–I swung by Sang Lee Farms, a great organically-farmed produce and plant purveyor on the North Fork of eastern Long Island. Owned by second-generation farmer, Fred Lee, this little-farm-that-could started out in the 1940s in Melville as a supplier to Chinatown vendors and eateries. Today, Fred, his wife, Karen, and their three children work their land now located in Peconic, supplying produce to some of the best restaurants on Long Island and NYC from a bounty of over 100 varieties of organic and, sometimes, heirloom veggies. It’s a special little spot, and one where I know I’m guaranteed to find side options of the bright and inspiring kind.

Dad and I had planned on ravioli for dinner later, and while walking past the pretty baskets filled with greens and tubers and carrots, the come-hither hue of a bunch of multi-colored beets caught my eye. Sold. To that, I added to my stash a container of Catapano chevre (a goat farm and cheesemaker just down the road), paid, and hit the road.

“Beets?!” my pops said incredulously when I walked in the door with their leafy locks peeked from the bag. “I hate beets!”

Hmmm.

“The only ones I ever liked were at the East Rockaway Point House. Joseph, the maitre’d, used to give your mother and I little plate of them, pickled, with our cocktails.”

Okay, so, tangy was the order of the day. I boiled them, ran them under cold water, and chilled them down. I knew his mint was up in the backyard, so I clipped a healthy looking sprig and cut that chiffonade-style. Once chilled, I tossed them together with a mustardy-dressing, the mint, and the chevre, and served it as a salad with dinner. He liked it.

Score one for the formerly blasphemed little beet.

Minty, Tangy Beet Salad
(serves 2-3)
1 bunch multi-colored beets (or, you know, whatever beets you want to use – the multi are just super pretty)
1 small bunch fresh mint leaves, washed, dried, and cut chiffonade
2 TBSP goat cheese
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp honey
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Boil beets until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Rinse, peel, and chill in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cut beets to desired size (I cut mine in bite-sized eighths), toss with dressing and crumbled chevre. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

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