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Beet, Peach, Feta and Toasted Almond Salad with a Pinot Grigio Vinaigrette

This is my new favorite summer salad–roasted beets, sweet ripe peaches, crumbled Feta and lightly toasted almonds on a bed of peppery arugula drizzled with a slightly tangy Pinot Grigio vinaigrette.

The beet seeds that I sowed way back in January are finally ready to pick. It had been so long since I planted them that I forgot they were a mixed packet of seeds–both deep red and “blond”. I didn’t realize that until I peeled them. The two on the right are actually “blond”.


INGREDIENTS FOR BEET, PEACH, FETA SALAD

DRESSING (It’s a great marinade, too)
  • 1 shallot, chopped fine
  • 4 TBS Lucini Pinot Grigio white vinegar (sold at Whole Foods)
  • 1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped basil
  • 5 TBS olive oil 
  • salt & pepper to taste

I’ve tried cooking beets various ways, but this is my favorite–and the easiest. Place each (or two if they’re small) on a piece of aluminum foil. Rub each beet with a little olive oil–just enough to coat it. This makes peeling them simple after they’re cooked.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for about an hour if they’re on the small side. It can take up to 1 1/2 hours if they’re large.

The best way to test if they’re done is with a cake tester. It leaves a small opening and doesn’t allow the juices to escape and make a mess on your cookie sheet.

When they’re soft all the way through, remove from the oven, open the foil and allow them to cool completely.

Wearing kitchen gloves, (to keep your hands from turning red) simple rub the skins and they’ll come off easily. They’ll look like this. The lighter ones will be yellow on the inside. Slice lengthwise from stem to tip.

Slice a peach into thin, uniform pieces. This was a great peach, but the stone was firmly attached so I had to be careful slicing it.

I loved this dressing. It was another one that I made up along the way and it’s a keeper. (Trust me–not all of them are!) Whisk all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside while you assemble the salad.

Lightly toast the almonds in a small pan over medium heat on the stove. Be careful not to overcook and make sure you remove them from the hot pan when they’re toasted or they will continue to cook and burn. Trust me on this. This was my second attempt. Let them cool completely.

Now for the fun and easy part–the assembly. Put the arugula on the bottom of a platter. Arrange the beet slices around the edges. Fan out the peach slices in the middle.

Sprinkle the almonds and Feta cheese over the top. 

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top.  Be careful not to overdress. I had leftover vinaigrette that I used to marinate shrimp that I served with this. It was a great marinade, too. I’ll use it on chicken, fish and maybe even pork.

Have fun with this and make your own masterpiece. It’s going to be one of the easiest salads you can make this summer!

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