Chilled Beets with Cucumbers, Feta and Dill

Beat the heat with a refreshing summer salad of sweet, chilled beets, cool, crunchy cucumbers and fresh, crisp lettuce. A few crumbles of creamy, tangy feta cheese make the salad irresistable. Serves 4.

For the Vinaigrette

•    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
•    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
•    pinch of sugar
•    salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
•    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Refrigerate (up to 1 week) until ready to serve.

For the Salad

•    2 medium beets
•    1/4 cup vinaigrette
•    1 teaspoon chopped, fresh dill
•    1 head Boston or green leaf lettuce, washed and leaves torn
•    1 cucumber, halved and sliced
•    2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
•    Purple basil leaves, optional for garnish

  1. Place the beets in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Weigh the beets down (they tend to float) with a heat proof plate that fits inside the saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the beets are tender when pierced with a small paring knife, about 45 minutes, longer for larger beets. Drain, let cool and refrigerate. (Cooked beets will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator).
  2. Peel, halve and slice the chilled beets. Place the sliced beets in a small bowl and toss them with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and dill.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, cucumber and the remaining vinaigrette.
  4. Divide the lettuce mixture among 4 serving plates. Arrange the beets in the center of each pile of lettuce and garnish with the feta cheese and a few purple basil leaves.

Grilled steak salad: Make an easy meal by adding sliced, grilled sirloin or flank steak to the salad. Or, instead of steak, try grilled salmon or chicken – both pair beautifully with beets and cucumbers.

Tip for peeling beets: With a paper towel in each hand, rub the skin off each beet. The paper towels keep your hands from turning bright red (if you’re peeling red beets) and do a beautiful job of taking off the skin while maintaining the contour of the beet.

 

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