Well, no use crying over beets that didn't grow in my garden. We keep trying. The second batch has sprouted and now I wait, again, to see if they get past the 3-inch tall greens stage. I'm hoping the slight change I made to the soil will help.
In the meantime, there is no reason why I can't enjoy one of my all-time favorite vegetables. Paired with fennel, beets make up a delicious salad. Roast the two veggies for a deeper flavor. Add a wedge or two of creamy cheese and a drizzle of tangy dressing and you have a fabulous salad for lunch or dinner any time of year.
I usually just whip up a dressing as I go along, rarely paying attention to the ingredients and ratios. After we sat down to eat this salad I had to think hard about what I used. I've included the recipe to the best of my memory, though I do suggest to taste as you go - always a good practice when cooking. And I used as much of the fennel as I could. Some of the fronds were chopped and mixed into the dressing and used as a garnish. Up towards the top of the fennel, where it resembles celery, is tasty so I finely diced some of that into the dressing.
For the vegetables:
3-4 medium beets, peeled, sliced into discs
1 bulb fennel, sliced into wedges
brie, sliced into thin wedges
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing:
1/3 cup fat free, plain yogurt (I love Nancy's Organic. Thick with the right balance of sweet and tangy)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp mirin
scant tsp rice vinegar
2 tsps of the fennel stalks, finely diced
1 tsp fennel fronds chopped
salt, to taste
fennel fronds for garnish
Combine ingredients until smooth.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the beets in extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Do the same with the fennel. Roast the beets until they are tender but not mushy. I turned the pieces once during the roasting. Three quarters of the way through roasting the beets, I began roasting the fennel. I wanted a slight crunch to the fennel to balance the tenderness of the beets.
Once both veggies were roasted, I assembled the pieces on a plate and drizzled with dressing and garnished with fennel fronds. The warmth of the veggies softened the brie. The dressing was slightly cool and the acidity was a nice complement to the sweetness of the roasted veggies.