Thursday, April 16, 2009

Raw Beet Salad

I began experimenting with a lot of raw foods last summer, particularly different chopped salad variations. This is one of my favorites and it's a runaway hit at my barbecues. To me, a raw salad with some crunch, dressed with a bright vinegar and combined with a perfectly grilled or braised piece of meat is my idea of the perfect meal.

I am not an exacting cook in terms of measurements. I'm giving you the basics here and you can season to taste. It's good practice anyway, to have fun with your palate and with this combination there's plenty of room for play.

Raw Beet Salad

4 medium to large beets (buy local!) trimmed, peeled and grated. A box grater or Cuisinart works best.

heavy handful pitted, chopped, Kalamata olives

combination of chopped fresh herbs such as dill, basil, parsley, mint - dealer's choice

oil and vinegar to taste - OK, here's where it gets fun. I've done everything from blood orange infused oil, to a really grassy olive oil and walnut oil's a winner too.

For vinegars I like O's port vinegar the best or a well made red wine or sherry vinegar is perfectly super.

1 to 2 oz. of sheep Feta crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

optional - toasted walnuts, hazelnuts or pumpkin seeds

Toss it all together and I'd season the salad with the vinegars before adding the cheese. The fat from the cheese has got your back in case you over-vinegar.

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