Beets and Cumin Salad

From Nelson’s Kitchen
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This salad is by Tess Mallos in The food of Morocco: a journey for food lovers. I adopted the recipe to roast the beets instead of boiling them and I pickled the red onions to reduce their pungency. Also, I borrow a technique from India from raita and freshly toast the cumin seeds, crushing half of them and keeping the other half whole to sprinkle on top at the end.

Ingredients:
 
Procedure:
 
  1. Prepare the beets
    • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Wash the beets well.
    • Wrap beets in foil or brush with olive oil and place in small roasting pan.
    • Roast until beets can easily be pierced with thin knife or trussing needle, about 1 hour for small to medium beets.
    • Cool slightly and remove skins — wear latex gloves.
    • Cut the tops and trim the roots.
    • Halve the beets, cut in slender edges.
  2. Dress the beets
    • Put the cumin seeds in a dry cold skillet.
    • Put the skillet over moderate heat and gently toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant.
    • Remove from the heat and immediately transfer the seeds to a small cool glass bowl to stop their cooking.
    • Transfer half of the toasted seeds to a wooden cutting board.
    • Using the bottom of a small cold pan crush the seeds on the cutting board until they are finely crushed.
    • In a deep bowl, beat the olive oil with the red wine vinegar, the crushed cumin and a good grinding of black pepper.
    • Add the beet wedges to the dressing and stir well.
    • Add the parsley and toss well.
    • Add the prickled onions and toss gently.
    • Sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon of reserved toasted cumin seeds.
    • Serve at room temperature.