Beet and Farro Salad with Smoked Trout

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I have become enamored with farro, an ancient grain that’s a species of wheat. (I love this NPR article that includes a few recipes.)  I saw this recipe as I was about to head out to the farmer’s market. Beets are just coming in now  up here in Minnesota, and I love using both the beet root and tops in dishes. Star Prairie Trout Farm sells at the market – fresh and smoked – and I had some farro on hand, so I was set!  We really enjoyed this and Randy remarked that he would like it equally as a side salad without the trout. A dry rosé wine was a perfect complement.

Adapted from Food and Wine

INGREDIENTS

3 small beets (1/2 pound)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
4 cups water
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro (8 ounces)
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground pepper
6 ounces skinless smoked trout fillet, flaked
2 cups chopped beet greens or Swiss chard—stems removed, leaves washed and finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small baking dish, lightly drizzle the beets with olive oil and rub to coat. Cover the dish with foil and roast for about 1 hour, until the beets are tender. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut into 1/2-inch dice.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Stir in the farro and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer the farro to a bowl. Discard the garlic and herbs. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, combine the shallot, lemon juice and honey. Gradually whisk in the 1/3 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper.  In a medium bowl, toss 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the trout.

To the farro, add the diced beets, the chopped greens and the remaining dressing and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, scatter the trout on top and serve. (I think this could also be served slightly warm. Definitely the flavors will be more pronounced if not chilled before serving.)

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Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

We eat quinoa like it’s going out of style in the summer.  Now it’s finally fall (I don’t know about where you live, but in Chicago I thought summer was never going to end!), and I wasn’t ready to give up my go-to dinner starter, but I’m definitely not in the mood for more salads.  So this week I tested out a couple of quinoa side dishes (or in one case we ate it as the main dish with a poached egg on top) that were amazing!  They’re based on a recipe in one of my old Martha Stewart magazines for quinoa hash, which is where I got the idea for the poached egg.  These would be great also as side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner!  Especially if you have vegetarians or vegans in your family, as quinoa has a good amount of protein and can be eaten as a main dish.  I served the beet-sweet potato one with roasted chicken, and it was delicious as a weekend meal.

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Brussels Sprouts - sweet & Savory Kitchens

I see Aunt Suzy and I are on the same wavelength…her latest post is very similar to mine, with forbidden rice instead of quinoa.  Can’t wait to try that one out, too!  There are numerous combinations of things that you can toss with the cooked quinoa; these are just the two that I have made so far.

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

We are on the same wavelength! I almost put in my post that I thought the forbidden rice dish could be made with red or black quinoa! I can’t wait to try these.

Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed thoroughly, and sliced thinly
1 sweet potato
2-3 beets with greens, greens rinsed thoroughly and chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop sweet potato into 1/2″ chunks and toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Spread on 1/2 of a rimmed baking sheet lined with tin foil. Peel and chop beets into 1/2 chunks, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt and spread on other half baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender, stirring halfway through, taking care not to mix beets and potatoes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté leeks and thyme for about 2 minutes, until they have softened. Add beet greens and sauté until wilted. Turn off heat and set aside until quinoa and veggies are done. Toss quinoa, roasted veggies, and leek mixture together in a large bowl with orange zest. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. shredded Brussels sprouts
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes and squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt and place on baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, until tender, stirring about halfway through.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Increase heat to medium-high and add Brussels sprouts. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes. You may want to add a little more oil to the pan by pushing the veggies to the side and adding it (I found the pan got a bit dry and added another tablespoon). Stir in oregano. Turn off heat. Combine quinoa with roasted veggies and Brussels sprouts mixture in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Beet and Fennel Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

I learned about this salad recently when friends and I got together to cook Asparagus and Leek Quiche.  It was a perfect compliment!  I love both beets and fennel, so what’s not to like?  It’s easy to put together once the beets are cooked.  We thought you could add a little feta cheese and call it a main dish salad!

Ingredients

1 pound cooked beets, cut in small wedges

1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced plus chopped fronds for garnish

about 6 cups lettuce, torn in small pieces or use spring mix

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs like chives, parsley, dill or mint (we used chives and mint)

Instructions

To cook the beets you can either roast or cook stovetop.  For stovetop, place the unpeeled, washed beetroots in water to cover.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer at a gentle boil for about 20-30 minutes for small beets and longer for larger ones. Here’s a great how-to for stovetop cooking of beets.  Remove from heat, drain and let cool slightly.   When cool enough, you can easily slip off the skin with your hands.  Let cool completely and cut into small wedges.

Make the dressing by whisking the buttermilk and mayonnaise together until emulsified.  Add the herbs and continue to whisk.  Set aside.

Wash and dry the lettuce and spread on a platter.  Place the sliced fennel bulb on top of the lettuces, then the beet wedges.  Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad.  Garnish with the fennel fronds.

Aunt Suzy says

One of my favorite things to eat is beets – which is a huge surprise to my adult self!  Growing up we had something my Mom called “Harvard Beets”, which were a sweet and sour affair in a gluey sauce.  I hated them and would do anything to get out of eating them.  Fast forward a few decades and I can’t get enough, especially of the roasted variety.  Even my niece, Sarah, who said she hated beets liked these when I made them on one of her recent visits.  Beets are plentiful right now and will be right up until fall.  This time of year they have especially beautiful and tender greens attached which are delicious.   The beets and greens can be prepared simply as in these recipes or you can use the beets in salads.

ROASTED BEETS

1-2 bunches beets

2 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place the rack in the upper third of the oven.  Remove the beet greens and set aside if you will be cooking them also.  Cut the stems off the top and the root off the bottom of each beet and then peel with a knife or a vegetable peeler.  Cut into pieces.  If the beets are small, you will want to quarter them; if larger, cut into 1-inch chunks.  Place in a bowl.  Process the garlic through a garlic press into the bowl of beets.  Add just enough olive oil to lightly coat the beets and then toss to thoroughly blend beets, garlic and oil. 

Line a cookie sheet or bottom of a broiler pan with foil.  Turn the beets onto the prepared pan, put in the oven uncovered and roast for 25-35 minutes until they can be pierced with a fork.  Check and stir after 15 minutes.  If cooking the beet greens, serve the beets on top of the greens.  Otherwise turn into a serving dish. 

BEET GREENS

Run a sink full of water and immerse the greens, then drain.  Do this a couple of times to remove all dirt and grit.  Cut off the stems and then slice or tear the larger leaves into smaller pieces.  Place the greens in a collander.  Put enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom into a large dutch oven.  Heat to medium.  Place 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly, into the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring.  Turn the heat up to medium high and add the greens a batch at a time.  Stir constantly until the greens are wilted and tender.  Place in a serving bowl and serve with the roasted beets atop the greens or with baked feta and olives.