Beet, Apple, and Feta Curd Salad

(courtesy of executive chef Maria Elia from her cookbook, Smashing Plates: Greek Ingredients Redefined. It's a signature dish at Jimmy's Restaurant in South Lake Tahoe. Serves 6)

This beet salad stars colorful beets in three forms: roasted, raw, and fried. The challenge? Making it look as beautiful as the photographed original! But, however you present it, this salad is delicious.

For roasted beets

2 medium-sized beets (red, gold, or Chioggia, aka candy cane)

For raw beets

2 small beets (red, gold, or Chioggia)

For beet crisps

2 small beets (red, gold, or Chioggia)

For roasted apples

2 cooking apples

2 tablespoons superfine sugar

For feta curd

1 cup feta, crumbled

4 heaping tablespoons Greek yogurt

For salad

1 curly endive or frisée

1 packet pea shoots

3 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1 packet edible flowers (optional)

For hazelnut-apple dressing

7 tablespoons hazelnut oil

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

¾ cup unfiltered apple juice, reduced to ¼ or a little less

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For roasted beets: Wash and wrap beets individually in foil and place in roasting pan. Cook for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on size) until tender. Cool a little before gently slipping off skins. Cut in rough wedges.

For apples: Preheat large frying pan, peel apple, and cut in half; cut each half into four wedges and remove core. Toss with sugar and place in hot pan. The apples will immediately caramelize. Cook until golden and slightly soft, then set aside.

For curd: Place feta in blender, and add yogurt and pinch of black pepper. Pulse, blending until smooth.

For dressing: Whisk ingredients together, season with sea salt, and set aside.

For fried beet chips: Peel and slice on mandoline (or slice, wafer thin, with sharp knife). Blanch in deep fryer at 160 degrees F for 1 minute, then refry at 175 degrees F until crisp. (Lacking deep fryer, fry in deep, hot oil in frying pan until crisp.)

For raw chips: Peel and slice on mandoline (or slice, wafer thin, with sharp knife). Wrap together to re-form in plastic so they don't brown.

To assemble salad: Smear feta curd over plate, scatter with a little frisée, and top with apples and equal variety of roasted beets. Scatter with pea shoots, hazelnuts, and raw beet slices. Drizzle with dressing before scattering with beet chips and flowers.




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