Going to keep this short and sweet. I’ll be doing a couple last-minute recipe blasts – yes, blasts – in the coming days until Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes, you know…procrastinate. Didn’t decide what I was cooking for Thanksgiving until today. As much as I intended in my little make believe, perfect world, that I would have spent the past couple of weeks practicing and posting holiday recipes for the blog, in the real world, that seemed just a bit silly. I have more important things to do, clearly. Like debate what to watch on Netflix and drink wine in my pajamas, scared to face the cold outside. (Okay, I promise that’s not all I’ve been doing.) But really, I take most of my food photos outside, and damn it’s getting frigid out there! I think I’ll go to California for the winter. Yes.
This is my take on a salad I can’t stop eating at Short & Main. A lovely composed salad with roasted beets and carrots with coriander vinaigrette, set atop yogurt. Roasted with warm spices like cumin, coriander, hot pepper if that’s your thing. Served at room temperature – which in my mind is THE BEST for Thanksgiving. We have a teeny tiny oven that is probably 30 years old, and when the turkey’s going, that’s the only thing we can fit in there. Needless to say, in a house from the 1700s with a galley kitchen, keeping numerous side dishes warm is a problem. I welcome any room temp side with open arms.
- 2 bunches beets: any combination of golden, chiogga (they’re candy cane striped inside when raw – and bright pink when cooked!), or red beets
- An equal amount of carrots, also any combination of color. If you can find some purple carrots, go for it! So pretty with the orange inside.
- 1 bunch romanesco – that funky veggie that looks like hops. Optional; I only added it because I saw it at the farmer’s market and couldn’t leave without one!
- A couple pinches cumin: either cumin seed or ground cumin
- A couple pinches ground coriander
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Yogurt (a pint should be enough for 4-6 people)
- A few leaves arugula (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Wash the beets and carrots of any excess dirt. In a deep baking dish, like a hotel pan, place the washed beets with their tops removed, and add an inch or so of water, until there is enough to keep all the beets touching the water. If you have any oversized beets, feel free to cut them in half, so all the beets are roughly the same size. Add a couple pinches of salt, cover the pan with aluminum foil (or a cover if you have one that fits), and throw in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
If you’re using orange, yellow, or white carrots, peel as you normally would. If you’re using some purple carrots, use a potato brush to gently scrub any dirt under running water. You don’t want to peel the purple carrots, because the purple is only a thin layer surrounding an orange inside. Cut the carrots lengthwise in half, and cut those halves again lengthwise, until you have fun little carrot sticks. Not too small – if they are too thin, they will become chip-like in the oven.
Put the cut carrots into a bowl. If you’re using purple carrots, separate them into another bowl. Season the carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin seeds, and a pinch of coriander. Toss well, and spread in one layer on a baking sheet. If using purple carrots, cook them on their own sheet so they don’t discolor the other carrots. Cook for about 10-20 minutes, checking and flipping after 10. I like mine to get a little caramelized and sweet, while still retaining a bit of a bite.
If you’re adding romanesco, just saute them in a hot cast iron pan for a few minutes with butter, salt, and pepper. There is enough spice with the other veggies, as far as I’m concerned!
When the beets are done – you’ll be able to easily stick a knife into its center when it’s done – take them out, let cool, or even run under cold water until it’s tolerable to handle them. If fully cooked, the skin should peel right off easily. Once peeled, cut into quarters or other bite-sized pieces. Put into a bowl and pour in some olive oil and red wine vinegar (3 parts olive oil 1 part vinegar), some salt and pepper, cumin seeds and coriander, and let marinate. It’s good to do this at least an hour before you plan to serve it – and even better to do the day before.
To plate, dollop a little bit of yogurt onto each plate. Place a neat pile of beets and carrots together. There should be some oil & vinegar left over from the beet marinade; whisk it up and drizzle a little on top of the salad. Garnish with a little torn arugula or herb of your choice. You could also chiffonade the arugula if you’d like. Depending on the kind of Thanksgiving you’re having, it could work to either plate this as a course in your meal, or make a large platter of it. Just keep in mind the prettiness would be more controlled if plated, but that’s probably not realistic for most folks. Including me.