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Beet, Fennel and Spinach Salad

Choose red, yellow-gold, red and white Chioggia, or any other variety or color of beet for this bright salad. The beets may be cooked in advance, then covered and refrigerated overnight before continuing.

Ingredients:

  • 4 small beets, stems trimmed but still intact
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 small fennel bulbs or 1 large bulb, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 oz. ricotta salata or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

Directions:

Cook the beets
Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Wrap the beets separately in aluminum foil and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool, then peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Make the vinaigrette
In a large bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, coriander, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Add the beets and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the fennel, spinach and half of the cheese to the beets and toss to combine. Arrange on plates, top with the remaining cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Salad, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).