Take note

I have a root vegetable recipe for you today. That seems sort of odd, I realize, given that it's currently 62 degrees outside, but let's keep in mind that it's the weather that isn't seasonal, not the recipe. (Not that I'm complaining! Weather gods take note!)

At any rate, I found the idea for the recipe in this month's Bon Appetit. It was one of those write-ins—someone from South Carolina had eaten at a restaurant in Atlanta and wanted the recipe for a roasted carrot and beet salad. I tucked it aside in my pile of To Make Soon clippings, but when I went to start cooking, I realized the page I ripped out had the ingredients, but not the directions. It didn't look like rocket science—there was a list of dressing like substances, then a pile that sounded more like salad fixings—but when I compared notes later online, it turned out we came to similar places, but via different methods.

I also decided that I wanted it to be more of a salad than just a pile of roasted vegetables, so I saved the beet greens, chopped them up, and added some arugula. I ate it with a piece of pan-seared pollock, and a few slices of grilled bread. And even though the sun was shining and I was wearing a t-shirt and feeling very far away from the root vegetable era, it really hit the spot.

I'm liking this November.


Here's my version of the Bon Appetit version which in turn was an Empire State South version of a Spotted Pig original! Confusing! But so, so good.

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound carrots cut into "carrot stick size" pieces
1/2 pound beets peeled and cut into the same size pieces
1/2 cup lightly packed finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
a handful of washed and torn beet greens
a handful of washed and torn arugula
1/2 cup crumbled feta

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toast the cumin seeds over medium heat in a small dry skillet, stirring often. When they start to get fragrant (3-4 minutes), they're done. Grind them up using a mortar and pestle.

Whisk together the ground cumin seeds, lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Combine the carrots and beets in a Pyrex dish. Drizzle them with olive oil and roast them in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until just tender. Transfer the roasted root vegetables to a salad bowl and toss them with the reserved dressing, parsley, mint, beet greens, and arugula. Crumble the feta over top and serve at once.

Note: I ate my salad with the vegetables hot, but they could also be roasted ahead of time and served either at room temperature or even straight from the fridge.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.