Salad of Chiogga Beets and Romano Beans
Last week in the farm share box we had -- along with summer squash, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery and parsley -- beets and green beans, two of my favorites. But they were both unfamiliar versions so I checked in with the Veggievangelist herself, Alanna Kellogg at A Veggie Venture.
Alanna instantly identified the newcomers: romano beans -- a broader, flatter bean than the usual variety -- and chiogga beets. The beets were such a bright red that I first thought they were radishes, but when they had been roasted they were a pale translucent pink, slightly redder on the root end. Their taste was earthy and sweet, with a silkier mouthfeel than the deep maroon variety.
I have my regular routines, and with beans I usually blanch them and then season them with salt or sometimes a fresh herb while they are still warm. Great in salads or all by themselves. With beets I nearly always just roast them and skin them and then use them in salads. So, after going through the usual routines with these two (the beans were a little tougher than regular string beans so they took a little longer in the boiling water) I had the idea to bring them together in what seemed to me to be a perfect midsummer salad -- with some sweet onions, a few slivers of blanched baby carrots and a dijon vinaigrette dressing they were a perfect addition to a casual supper of poached fresh fish and fresh corn on the cob.
By the way, Alanna has more great ideas for these two vegetables: see Chiogga Beets with Horseradish Cream and Garlicky Romano Beans - take note, by the way, in the bean preparation, of the rosemary-infused oil(!).
Chiogga Beet and Romano Bean Salad
1 bunch chiogga beets
1 lb romano beans, stems removed
4 thin slices vidalia onion
2 baby carrots, scrubbed
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T olive oil
1 T dijon mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 C water
salt, hot sauce to taste
1 T flat-leaf Italian parsely, chopped
Coat the beets in a little olive oil and roast, uncovered, at 400º until fork-tender (about an hour). Allow to cool completely and then remove the roots and stem ends and slip off the skins. Slice.
Blanch the carrots in boiling salted water until just starting to be tender, then shock in cold water, slice and set aside.
Blanch the beans in the boiling salted water until they just start to give to the tooth. Remove to a bowl of ice water, swirl around for a few seconds to cool quickly, then drain and spin in a salad spinner. Dry further with a paper towel, then mix with the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and hot sauce. Marinate refrigerated overnight.
Mix the sugar and water and soak the onion slices in the mixture for 15 - 20 minutes. Drain and shake dry.
Combine the beet slices, onion. carrot slices and marinated beans and toss gently. Adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature, garnished with a scattering of the parsley if desired.