spinach salad with roasted beets and feta
Some farmers are now brining the most tender baby spinach to the market, already washed and dried and ready to use in salads. It is a great convenience that has probably done more than any cartoon character ever did to get people to eat this nutritious vegetable. One enthusiastic grower told me that he met his wife through baby spinach. (He left me to imagine the details.) I make no claims for the matchmaking power of baby spinach, but I do know that it marries well with beets.
1 pound small beets
4 teaspoons sherry vinegar, plus more as needed
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound baby spinach leaves
3 ounces greek, bulgarian, or french feta cheese

Serves 4
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If beet greens are attached, remove all but 1/2 inch of the stems (so as not to pierce the beets) and reserve for another use. Put beets in a baking dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover tightly and bake until a small knife slips in easily, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then peel. Let cool completely, then into 1/2 inch wedges.
In a small bowl, whisk together 4 teaspoons vinegar, the garlic, the olive oil, and salt an pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, toss together beets and red onion with about half of the dressing. Let stand 10 minutes to absorb flavors, then taste and sprinkle with a little more vinegar if necessary.
In a large bowl, toss spinach with remaining dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide equally among 4 plates. Top with beets and onions, again dividing equally. Crumble feta evenly over each salad.
I took a few liberties (due to lack of ingredients) with the recipe when I made it, and it still turned out great, love them beets. I roasted the beets in aluminum foil, with a few tablespoons of water. I used regular spinach, red wine vinegar, and goat cheese feta, in place of their respective counterparts listed above. Without measuring any of the salad ingredients, I ended up with a little too much dressing (which I don't like), so you may want to reserver some dressing when tossing the salad. Eat well and take care.
Printed without permission from "Fresh from the Farmers' Market" by Janet Fletcher. ISBN 0-8118-1393-2, Chronicle Books, San Francisco (www.chronbooks.com).
I highly recommend this book, with great recipes, buying guides for the farmers market, and a beautiful layout to boot, this book is a great gift for any cook, especially yourself. The most interesting part of this book is that is was written and published in San Francisco (where I lived for two years), and I found it in a little home-wares shop in Bend, OR.