It was absolutely joyous and filled with so much sunshine. As every good 4th of July weekend should be! But three days of holiday fun and celebrating my homeland and all I wanted when we got back to our humble little abode was to eat all the vegetables I could possibly get my hands on.
(And it’s not even like during these three days I had no access to veggies. I had some with most meals! But it’s summer and our fridge is full of more vegetables than you can even imagine. My cravings for vegetables are dramatic and almost as bad as my winter cravings for hot cocoa. Almost.)
So I got home from all the canoeing and fireworks and visiting friends and family and exploring parts of my home state I’d (somehow) never seen before and immediately whipped up this salad which is intended as a starter salad for four. I sat down. I ate half. I absolutely demolished it. Then ate the rest. Yum. Perfect end to a perfect weekend.
P.S. If you ever find yourself in Wisconsin in summer, do yourself a favor and rent a canoe from River View Hills in Muscoda. Boat a bit, play on sand bars, float a bit, watch the driftless hills and bluffs pass you by. It’s a perfect way to spend a summer day.
Takes 30 minutes
Makes 4 starter-sized portions or 1 very large, very tasty dinner-sized salad
1 bunch beets (4-6, varying sizes and varying colors are fine)
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups snap peas, ends trimmed and halved
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves (or just about any fresh herb you have on hand; cilantro, basil, and parsley would all be delicious)
Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil on the stove. Prepare beets, by trimming off the tops. Discard the greens or save for another purpose. Cut any beets larger than a golf ball in half. If they are the size of a baseball, cut them into quarters. Drop the beets into the boiling water and blanche for 5 minutes. Strain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to peel. Peel beets. Thinly slice beets (ideally on a mandolin if you have one but a knife will work fine if you don’t).
Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Add sliced onion and beets. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare peas. Trim ends and slice in half lengthwise. Mix together peas and mint leaves on a large, lipped platter. Lay avocado over the top. Once onions and beets are ready, pour them over the peas, mint and avocado. Use as much of the dressing as you desire.