Fennel and Beet Salad with Queso Fresco and Snapped Peas
I am having the most delectable harvest of beets this year. It is hard to describe how pleased I am. It seems like I won the lottery because I have lots of beets AND beet greens. Both are soooo amazingly yummy. In an effort to please the husband I roasted beets for a salad. The Hub is used to me coveting the beets for my batches of pickled beets (which are also amazing – especially canned up and saved for a fall football game snack!) so he rarely gets beets simply roasted without being pickled
This recipe was inspired by a recipe in the A16 cookbook. I embellished quite a bit with other ingredients I had on hand. Not only was this a beautiful dish but it tasted great the evening I made it for my folks and it was excellent as leftovers. (I’m not a fan of leftovers so that’s saying a lot.) Fennel and Beet Salad with Queso Fresco and Snapped Peas 2 bunches of beets 1 fennel bulb 1 cup freshly shucked peas ½ cup crumbled queso fresco 3 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar Salt and Pepper Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a small sheet pan with tin foil. Cut the stem of the beets about an inch from the top of the beet. Trim off the roots. Wash thoroughly to remove any soil. Place the beets on the sheet pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the beets. Rub the beets with your hands to make sure the beets are covered with the olive oil. Pull the tin foil around the beets to lock in moisture. Roast for about an hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough so that you can handle them. Cut the tops off and remove the skin. Slice the beets into approximately ¼” slices. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 ½ tbsp of red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss.
Cut the fennel fronds off the fennel bulb along with the root. Discard the fronds. Thinly slice the fennel bulb and place in a bowl. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of olive oil, ½ tablespoon of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and toss.
In a small sauté pan toss the peas in a ½ tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and sauté for about 2 minutes. Plate the dish by laying the beets down on plate flat while slightly overlapping the slices. Next, layer the fennel slices over the beets. Top with the sautéed peas and queso fresco. This is a perfect salad to serve when you are entertaining. Great combination of flavors and textures. Delightful!
Food is so intriguing. I’ve always loved to cook whether it’s casual and simple or complicated and elegant. After living in the Midwestern United States all my life I find myself jumping between All-American foods and foods from other cultures. There is definitely a sense of comfort with cooking and enjoying food that I’ve grown up with.
I have a voracious curiosity to learn about all cultures, especially the Middle East/Mediterranean, Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai foods. I’ve learned that a simple curry dish or an Asian dumpling can transform your mood and be just as much of a comfort food as the foods you’ve known you’re whole life.
It is fascinating to me how each culture has such a diversity of ingredients, and when used with different combinations and cooking techniques you can easily transform the same few ingredients into a multitude of dishes. The unfamiliar, the diverse ingredients and techniques, can be intimidating to many people. I’ve created this blog to chronicle and share my explorations in the kitchen so that hopefully you will want to start experimenting in your kitchen.