Serves 4 as a 1st course or accompaniment to a meal.
Keyword: Anise Hyssop, Beet Salad, Roasted Beets
Large handful of wholesmall, anise hyssop leaves and flowers (larger leaves should be torn)
Kosher salt and pepper
Virgin sunflower oilto taste
1lbheirloom beetssuch as red, white, gold, or chioggia varieties
2ozaged goat cheese or blue cheese sliced
1bulb of fennelshaved thin on a mandoline, avoiding the core
1small red onion
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the beets lightly with some oil, salt and pepper. Wrap the beets and thyme sprigs in aluminum foil then place on a cookie sheet with a roasting rack and roast for 45 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a paring knife. When the beets are cooked, remove them and cool.
When the beets are cool, peel them, then slice 1/4 in thick. To make perfect circles like in the pictures, cut out circles of beet using the rim of a glass or a ring mold.
To shave the fennel, remove the top green stalk and then cut the bulb in half vertically. Using a mandoline, shave the fennel about 1/16 of an inch thick, avoiding the core.
Remove the root and top from the red onion, then peel and cut in half vertically. Julienne the red onion as thin as possible. (you will only need 1/4 of the entire onion for this recipe, save the rest of the onion for another purpose.) Season the thinly sliced onion lightly with the salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, and 1 tsp of the sunflower oil. Allow the onion to sit for 4-5 minutes to macerate and remove the "raw" flavor, then combine with the sliced fennel and reserve. (you can do this a day ahead of time if you like.)
To serve the salad, arrange a few beet slices on each of four salad plates or arrange them all on a platter family style. Season the sliced beets with salt and pepper, and sunflower oil to taste. Top the beets with the shaved fennel and onion, garnish with the cheese, then scatter the anise hyssop leaves and flowers over the whole thing.
This is an updated version of the previous beet salad, the cheese here is really great, a brand new collaboration from LeClare and Roelli in Wisconsin called Zeige Zacke. It's a mild goat/cow blue, and it's fantastic. Another aged blue cheese would be a shoe in though, like gorgonzola piccante.