Salmon with golden beets and baby fennel

I never liked beets. Every year my husband would pickle half a dozen jars of red ones in brine. They look beautiful with their deep crimson colour, but they always tasted too strong and too sour for me.

The first golden beets I ever ate were from a farmer’s market in St. Catherines. Pat pickled those, too, and once again they looked beautiful but the taste held no appeal for me. I did, however, decide that growing them might be fun.

This year, as I harvested my first crop, I discovered that it wasn’t beets I didn’t like–it was the brine! Now that I have tasted them cooked in other ways, I have become quite fond of these golden globes. They have a mellow, earthy flavour quite unlike the pickled red ones I was used to. I found a great recipe and think that next year I will plant an even bigger crop of beets. I just can’t get enough!

If you are lucky enough to grow some or find them at the market, here is my new favourite dish. It’s super easy and super yummy. It looks beautiful, too!!

Salmon with golden beets and baby fennel (Serves 4)

1 large salmon fillet

2-3 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp honey

1 large bunch of golden beets, with tops (you can add a red on or two for extra colour)

1 tbsp olive oil

2-3 baby fennel stalks

2 tbsp cider vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp butter

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Wash and peel beets, reserving tops. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven proof dish at 400 degrees for about half an hour, until tender. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, lay fillet out on foil covered baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Spread with mustard and drizzle with honey. Top with most of the fennel fronds (leaves). Bake for 10-2o minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.

In medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, canola oil and any accumulated juices from the fish. Slice remaining fennel stalks very thinly. Gently toss together roasted beets, fennel and vinagrette.

Just before serving, melt butter in medium pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add beet tops and stir until darker green and soft.

To assemble, place beet greens on each plate. Place slice of salmon on top. Spoon beet/fennel mixture over fish. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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