My sister came to visit last week. She’s on tour with her band, heading back west – she lives in Victoria. Her band still does things because they have to: they’re driving across the country in a van. They’re staying with relatives and friends as they go; they’re sometimes playing to nearly empty venues. I told her, when she had just described some unpleasantness, that she must really love rockin’ to keep doing it.
This meal is kinda like that.
It’s definitely worth the effort, once in a while. I wouldn’t put it in heavy rotation though. It requires patience, a lot of prep, and, either really great knife skills or special equipment. And beets make everything red: and I mean everything! If you can find them, go with yellow or choggia beets, then you’ll have a more colourful salad and won’t have red pee.
Still, it’s a neat salad, the missus likes it. And it makes great leftovers, unlike most salads. Don’t worry about the pears browning: the lemon dressing will prevent that from happening.
That fancy contraption you see in the first picture is a mandolin. And that’s beet juice, mind you! But it is dangerous, it could easily shorten your fingers, so be careful. You know what they say about short fingers, right? Right: short gloves. OK, we understand each other, let’s move on.
A mandolin is used for slicing things finely and uniformly. The whole point of this salad is to make crunchy matchsticks of beet and pear. A mandolin could do the whole job for you if you like, but I like using my knife, so I just cut them into discs with the mandolin, then brought out my trusty chef’s knife to do the rest.
Modified from Cook With Jamie.
- 4 beets, largish, peeled
- 3 pears, nearly ripe,largish, peeled and cored
- feta cheese
- handful small mint leaves
For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp lemon
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt, pepper
Get out your mandolin and start slicing the beets and pears. Once they’re sliced up, get out your knife and finely slice your slices until you have matchsticks.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a jam jar or bowl. Dress the beets and pears.
Take a handful and place on a plate. Sprinkle the feta and mint over top.