The other week I headed out for the farmer's market at Copley Square, my camera tucked in my backpack. It was one of those days when merely stepping outside resulted in sweat-drenched clothes, but for some psychotic reason I decided to walk there. The path from my apartment in South Boston to the market takes you through an array of neighborhoods and scenery. Every time I do this walk, I see a detail of the city that I'd never noticed before. It could be a mural on the side of a building or a hidden park down a side street.
The shaded kiosks at the market provided enough protection to make it a pleasant trip. I strolled around for a while, poking into each tent to marvel at the gorgeous produce. I couldn't help but touch everything. This is what carrots are supposed to look like! And aren't these beets stunning? My fellow patrons look over at me, laughing and nodding in agreement. There was no way I was going home without a few ingredients.
Is it weird that the thing I enjoy preparing most are salads? Even as a teenager, there was nothing that excited me more than chopping veggies and whisking together a vinaigrette. This is how I started to learn how to cook, and I guess it's why it's stuck with me all these years.
The true pleasure in eating salad is that often the ingredients are left unaltered or cooked in a way that lets their natural flavors shine. This blueberry, beet, and feta salad wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I got started on developing this dish. Honestly, I'm not sure what my vision was. I was hoping for something leafy, but when the bowl developed and I saw how striking the colors were and that the flavors and textures were layered, I knew this was something that needed to be shared.
Blueberry, Beet and Feta Salad
1 bunch (6 or 7) small golden beets 1 pint (2 cups) blueberries 1/2 cup feta 3 basil leaves, chiffonade 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons lemon juice 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest Salt and pepper, to taste Honey
1. Put the beets to a pot of water and bring to a boil. They are finished cooking when a sharp knife goes into one easily. Run cold water over the beets and let sit until cool enough to handle. Once they have cooled enough, they can be peeled.
2. Quarter the beets (or cut smaller if the beets are larger) and transfer to a bowl. Add the blueberries and feta to the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
4. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle basil on top. Drizzle a little honey on top and serve.