It felt a bit like ‘cooking by color’, when I got inspired by red beets and onions laying closely together. They ended up even more united, in this Millet salad with beets, roasted red onion, feta cheese and serrano ham.
I couldn’t stop myself, at my favorite supermarket. It’s a small ethnic market, with lots of fresh produce from the Bay Area exposed on the sidewalk outside the store, protected from the burning sun by colorful umbrellas. I love it for this large variety of fruits and veggies. Fresh gherkins, plums in all kinds of colors and flavors, bright orange carrots with their airy tops, small nets of silver onions, garbanzo beans kept fresh in their papery skin, bunches of red beets with fresh fluttering leaves, it all ended up in my basket. To despair of the cashier, who didn’t had any space on the counter for this abundance of regional ripeness.
At home, I arranged my treasures on the countertop. For some of the productes I already had a plan. The beets and red onions I held apart, still not knowing how to use them. Until I took a closer look. Let’s cook by color, I thought, and combine them in a dish.
RECIPE MILLET SALAD WITH ROASTED BEETS AND RED ONIONSAs roasting beets do great justice to their natural sweetness, it works fantastic for onions as well. The feta cheese I had left, provided the necessary counterbalance for all that sweet pleasantness.
You need for 2 [or lunch for 3 or 4]:
2 big red beets [approx. 1 lb or 450 gr]
1 large red onion
1/3 cup [60 gr] millet
6 slices of jamon serrano
bunch of fresh thyme twigs
100 gr feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees (or 180 C). Wrap each beet and the onion in a separate piece of aluminum foil. Put on a baking tray and let cook for about two hours. Test the veggies with a sharp knife to check if they’re totally cooked. Unwrap the foil, let the beets and onion cool down a bit. Remove the skins.
Note: when testing the doneness, your knife has to go through without any resistance, whether it’s a potato, beet, carrot or any other firm veggie.
Cook the millet in the amount stock prescribed on the package. Fry the slices of jamon serrano in a hot sauté pan until warm, a bit golden brown and shrunk about one-third, then slice in bit size pieces.
Slice beets and onions in very small pieces. Mix with the millet, thyme leaves, feta and jamon serrano. Add lemon juice and pepper to taste (you probably don’t need salt, as the feta and ham provide enough salty flavor).
Tip: Roast a double portion of beets and onions. You can easily freeze hem after peeling (and eventually slicing) to save some time when you want to eat beet again.
Great recipe to bring to a potluck, but I worked for me as a simple dinner dish.