Beet Salad with Fennel and Lemon Relish

I just recently realized that beets and fennel are a great combination, and beets also go well with lots of the other anise-flavored herbs like tarragon and caraway. The lemon-fennel relish is especially nice with Meyer lemons, which taste like a cross between orange and lemon. The recipe makes more relish than you need for the salad, so save it to serve with fish or chicken for another meal.

1 lb. beets
2 T. olive oil

1 fennel bulb
1 lemon, preferably Meyer variety
1 onion
1/2 t. fennel seeds

1 T. honey
1/2 C. water

1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400F. Scrub beets well, and trim off tops and tails. Cut small beets into quarters or halves, or larger beets into 1-inch chunks. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and a little salt on a baking sheet. Roast about 45 minutes, until the beets are tender.

Meanwhile, chop lemon and onion into about 1/4 inch dice. Trim the bottom and the stems from the fennel bulb, slice it in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into thin strips. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet on medium flame. Cook onions, lemon and fennel slices with fennel seeds until soft, about 5 minutes. Add honey, water and salt, and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, another 5 minutes or so. Adjust the amount of salt and honey as desired.

Set a handful of beets on each plate, top with some of the fennel mixture, and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 2 to 4 as a side.


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