Sunday, 18 May 2014

Beautiful Beetiful Salad!

Insalata Estiva di Barbabietola, Couscous & Erbe Miste
Summer Beet, Couscous & Mixed Herb Salad


Beautiful, bright and colorful, sweet, earthy and delicious beets! Alas, they are one of those things that people either tend to love or to hate, with very little in-between... but that's ok! Variety is the spice of life!

At the end of the day, us beet-lovers can be grateful to any beet-haters out there who leave us their share of the yumminess- they are just doing us a favor! Especially when they can be transformed into dishes as simple and delicious as this!


I saw these lovely little devils at the market hall yesterday and suddenly decided I needed to take them home and make something yummy and more suited to the Summer months with them... we are going to HAVE a Summer this year, aren't we? I sure hope so! Haha!

No- it had just been a while since I had last eaten beets and I felt nostalgic for their earthy flavor... but still- the urge to make something different and new out of them was there too... and so I did!


To make 2 generous servings of this delicious salad you will need 4 small beets- I had yellow and red ones, a little ginger, a Spring onion, a cupful of couscous, oregano, mint and parsley. Along with the juice of a lemon, some good olive oil, a little honey and plain old salt and pepper, that is all you will need to transform these simple and humble ingredients into a treat not only for your eyes, but also for your taste-buds!


Not meaning to sound as if I am bragging... I still have to say that I think this looks absolutely terrific! And as if it isn't bad enough that I have just made that statement... I will go on to say that it tasted even better than it looks!


Simply peel and quarter the beets and then cut the quarters into slice... nice, bite-sized chunks. I made a point of keeping the yellow and red beets at a distance from each other the whole time whilst preparing this dish- because, as you know... those red beets will turn everything red! Including fingers and clothes... so be warned!


I tried my favorite cooking method out on the beets this evening and it worked wonderfully. I popped them into my frying pan with just a little water, as you can see, seasoned with salt and coarsely-ground pepper and let them cook until the water had been absorbed, boiled and evaporated away... or a combination of those three things! I then flipped the beets over, added the same amount of water again and continued cooking from the other side until the water was completely gone. This way, you lose none of the natural flavor of you food- it cooks right back into it!


After the second lot of water has evaporated away, a a splash of olive oil and stir the beets into it well, getting them all coated and then let them sit and sizzle and brown from both sides... simple!

Repeat this same procedure with the red beets and whilst they bubble and sizzle away, chop up your parsley nice and finely, slice up that Spring onion... but more importantly, grab your ginger and get ready to add some nice flavor... next stop... couscous!


Chop up about 2" of ginger nice and finely... this will bring some wonderful flavor... just as soon as we work a little magic with it in the frying pan too...

What you can see here is a concentrated blast of wonderful ginger flavor- toasted in just a little olive oil until it is a deep golden brown and packing a flavorful punch to our couscous... which is coming up next!


 I added the couscous straight into the frying pan, with the sliced Spring onion, the juice of half of the lemon, salt, pepper and enough water to cover the base of the frying pan and all of the couscous.

In next to no time, the couscous absorbs all of the water- at that point, add the finely chopped parsley, turn off the heat and allow the couscous to soften, fluff-up and become deliciously filled with lemon, ginger and parsley aroma... mmm!


As soon as the couscous has cooled off, layer it up with the beets and the oregano and mint, adding a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of honey and a touch more salt and pepper if necessary.


I'd say this is a salad that can't be beet! It should simply be enjoyed!

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