Salmon and Meyer lemons are two of my favorite “healthy” foods. And to my delight, this lovely, light preparation is marked by the bright, sweet acidity of Meyer lemon and the earthy note of beets—a specific kind of beets.
Never heard of baby chioggas? Me neither. According to SpecialtyProduce.com “Baby Chioggia beets are entirely edible: roots, stems and leaves. The swollen dusty magenta globular root is topped with variegated pink and pistachio colored mid ribs and broad wavy green leaves. The flesh of the root is distinguished by its concentrated rings of deep pink and translucent white. Cooked Chioggia beets will not retain their brilliant coloring, rather fade to paler versions of their original colors.”
In the end it didn’t matter, we couldn’t find them at the grocery store. If like us, you have trouble finding chioggias, substitute small red beets. (Apparently Chioggias are typically available in the summer and fall, and this was early spring.) Native to Italy, these beets are also called “Candy Stripe” due to their red and white stripes when the beets are cut.
We also struck out with chervil and had to substitute curly parsley. During these days of pandemic uncertainty, you never know what the supermarket will, or will not, be carrying at any specific time. Just go with the flow. The meal was only for the two of us, so I cut back on the quantity of some ingredients (but left the recipe below intact).
In fact, I used only 1 bunch (4 beets total) which ended up being the perfect amount for the two of us. These red beets were larger than chioggas and took about one hour to soften. Roasting brings out their natural sweetness and masks the earthy taste. No need to peel the ones that go in the oven until afterward.
However, the recipe did not indicate to peel the sliced beet first. My gut told me I should have done this, but The Hubster came to the rescue and removed the outer peel from each slice <3!
Salmon with Roasted Beets
- 4 bunches baby chioggia beets, trimmed; 2 peeled for mandoline
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 6 6-oz. skinless, boneless Alaskan salmon fillets
- 2 Tbs. grapeseed oil
- 2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup fresh chervil or curly parsley leaves, plus springs for garnish
- 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F.
- Using a mandoline, thinly slice two of the beets; set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss the remaining beets with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
- Put the beets on a large rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with foil, and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, peel and halve three of the beets and quarter the remainder; set aside.
- Put the wine in a large, wide saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until almost evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the broth and remove from the heat.
- Put a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and heat the pan for about 2 minutes. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
- Add the grapeseed oil to the skillet, swirl, and add the fish. Cook until the fish begins to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium, turn the fish over, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm.
- Return the broth mixture to medium heat. Add the cooked beets and lemon zest, and bring to a boil. Cook until heated through.
- Add the lemon juice and remaining 6 Tbs. olive oil, and stir to combine. Add 2 Tbs. of the chervil and 1-1/2 Tbs. of the tarragon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Adapted from a recipe by Traci Des Jardins in Fine Cooking Magazine