Salad for dinner. It’s hot. It’s even too hot to go outside and grill the zucchini. The broiler heats up and cooks quickly so it’s a doable stand in for the grill on a sweltering day. How long has it been since you had grown-up spinach? For me it’s been a long time, years maybe. I only ever seem to buy baby spinach. Lately I’ve been buying the bunches of regular, full-grown spinach and I like it a lot more. It’s more hearty, has more texture, and I think more flavor as well.
- 1-2 zucchini
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 t. herbes de Provence or dried oregano
- one bunch of beets, reserve the greens, wash them well, and cut into bite sizes
- one bunch of fresh spinach, washed and cut or torn
- A few basil leaves for garnish
For the vinaigrette ( I like to make mine in a smoothie blender)
- one packed handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 C. olive oil
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- pinch of Kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/8 C. Balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 1/4 C. champagne or white wine
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
Prepare the beets: cut off the greens and set aside. Place the whole, unpeeled, beets in a pot, covered with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Test with a sharp knife. Drain the hot water and place the pot in the sink. Fill it with cold water to stop the beets cooking. This is a great time to peel them- use your hands, the peel slips right off, and if you do it while your hands are submerged then you won’t get too many beet stains on your fingers. Slice the beets into 1/2 inch thick slices, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the zucchini: Slice the zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds and place on a baking sheet that’s been drizzled with olive oil. Season the rounds with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the dried herbs. Give the whole pan another drizzle of oil and put it under the broiler- about two inches from the heat source. Broil for about two minutes per side, or until the rounds are blistering and turning golden brown.
Assemble the salad: Greens on the plate, I like a few beet stems too for color and crunch, a few zucchini rounds, a few sliced beets, a few basil leaves and a nice drizzle of the vinaigrette.