We've been so preoccupied with mid-summer produce like sweet corn and zucchini, we almost didn't notice the bunches of deep purple and yellow beets that have started to take over the market. Thankfully, we didn't miss our chance! There's still plenty of time to take advantage of the long beet season, and believe us we will, because we love beets. Silka loves roasted beets almost as much as she loves mashed potatoes (read: a LOT) but Jake takes it to a whole new level. As a kid he loved beets so much he decided to marry one, drawing a portrait of himself and his beet bride. Don't believe us? It still hangs in his grandparents house.
For our first taste of beet season, we looked to a classic boiled beet and goat cheese salad- but we really wanted a hardier dish that would bridge the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Making it up as we went along, we picked up some brebis blanche from 3-Corner Field Farm, micro greens from Two Guys in Woodbridge, and a handful of herbs from our terrace to add a summery touch. On the other side of the seasonal spectrum, we thought a grain like farro could really bring in an earthy, fall flavor. We went to our favorite local grain source, Cayuga Pure Organics, and described what we had in mind. The young woman working the table suggested wheat berries. We'd never cooked with them before, but trusting her expertise, we decided to try it out.
Well, big thanks to the chick at Cayuga for introducing us to our new favorite grain! The boiling wheat berries filled the kitchen with a sweet, nutty flavor and we immediately knew that they'd compliment the sweetness of the beets and the grassy tang of the goat cheese perfectly. We served the salad with a lamb chop and a green salad for a beautifully simple weeknight dinner.
Summer-into Fall Beet Salad
+ 2 lbs beets, peeled and cut into big chucks
+ 1 cup of wheat berries
+ a bunch of greens and herbs - we used parsley, mint, micro radish greens and micro watercress
+ 6 oz Goat or Sheep cheese
+ 3 tbsp olive oil
+ salt and pepper
1. Soak the wheat berries in a sauce pan with 4 cups of water for 2 hours. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 400.
2. Spread beets out in a large baking dish, pour olive oil over them and sprinkle with salt. Put into the oven for one hour.
3. Bring the water and wheat berries to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cover, just like rice. Cook covered for one hour.
4. Meanwhile, chop up the greens and herbs, and crumble the cheese in a large serving bowl. When the beets and wheat berries are done, mix everything together in the bowl and serve.