Lately all the talk shows, magazines and public relations companies are all atwitter about local foods this and farm-to-table that, repeating those buzzwords over and over and over, until you just want to say, "Enough!". Especially for most of us Sacramentans who have been eating seasonal, local foods for ages...way before the bandwagon rolled up. It's nothing new. I know most of my friends have been hitting the farmers' markets in town way before it became cool to do so. Regardless whether you became a locavore years ago or are just now coming around to it, it's still exciting when you're presented with beautiful veggies and sweet just-picked fruits. Recently during one of my shopping trips, I picked up some Chioggia beets. I love, love, love Chioggia beets! Not only are these heirloom veggies tasty but they're gorgeous and a bit milder then their purple counterparts. Their vibrant, fuschia, candy-cane striped interiors are absolutely adorable; which makes it hard for me to just roast them up like I normally do with my regular ol' beets. (Note: Roasting Chioggias diminishes their lovely color and stunning concentric pattern.) Yes, I'm quite smitten with them! So this time around, I decided to make a refreshing raw beet salad. I julienned my beets but you could also use a mandolin to create thinly sliced rounds with swirling bulls-eyes, if you wish. Quite hypnotizing and trés cute in my opinion!
Now let me warn you- raw beets are not for everyone. They have a crisp texture and sweet, earthy taste that you either love or hate. Now I'm in the love camp but I know lots of people who place raw beets in the "ick, yuck, phooey" category even though they like roasted beets.
By the way, beets are super nutritious. They have lots of potassium, fiber and iron and this salad is a great way to showcase beets in all their raw glory. Pairing the beets with Fuji apples gives the salad a bit of ying and yang (earthy and sweet) and the Greek yogurt dressing rounds out the flavor profile by gives the dish a kick of tang. The salad is easy to prepare ahead of time (in fact I like to let it sit for awhile in the fridge, so that the flavors have a chance to meld together before I eat it).
Tip: When shopping for beets look for firm-skinned ones that are relatively blemish-free and on the smaller side with perky greens. Smaller tends to be sweeter in the beet world.
Crisp Chioggia Beet and Fuji Apple Salad
2 medium sized Chioggia beets (or 3 small)
2 medium sized Fuji apples
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (plain flavored)
3 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1.5 teaspoons honey
1. Wash beets thoroughly. I have a little scrub brush I use to get all the tiny bits of dirt off. Remove the tops and tails. Dry thoroughly.
2. Peel the beets and julienne. Do the same with the apples. Set aside.
3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine Greek yogurt, orange juice, zest and honey. Whisk it up.
4. Pour the yogurt dressing over the beets and apples. Toss until well coated. Place in refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour so the flavors have a chance to intermingle. Serve cold.
Optional: Garnish with fresh microgreens or chopped flat-leaf parsley right before serving.
The Office : Bear, Beets & Battlestar Galactica