I was invited to a dinner party a few weeks ago with a small group of friends. The hosts, two inspired foodies, warned me that they had a surprise for me, and what a surprise it was! They had created an appetizer with beets, orange, haloumi (a Cypriot cheese that you can find in many grocery stores) and Tragano Greek Organics sea fennel! I was very touched, because I knew that they were fans of Zēlos but never thought their creativity would lead them to a special recipe. Here is Mike's recipe and a photo of the dish (not my best effort, I admit). There's a bit of prep involved but it is SO worth trying, it's just a gorgeous and tasty holiday dish!
For the salad
6 roasted beets, cubed
1 roasted celery root (Celeriac), cubed
3 oranges - supremed and cubed
3 packages Haloumi cheese cubed
For the dressing
3 yellow beets
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white wine
A mixture of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, sage
Tragano Greek Organics sea fennel (3-4 sprigs chopped and the rest whole to garnish)
Extra virgin olive oil (we used Tragano Greek Organics)
Brush the beets and celeriac with some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with a dash of salt, place on a baking sheet and roast at 400F for about 45-60 minutes until cooked through. Let cool and then cut in 1/2-3/4" cubes.
While the veggies are roasting, supreme the oranges and cut them in 1/2-3/4" cubes. Set aside.
Cube the haloumi cheese in 1/2-3/4" cubes and pan sear until nicely brown on the outside. Set aside.
To prepare the dressing:
Juice the 3 yellow beets and reduce them in a saucepan with the loosely cut shallot, three cloves of garlic, & thyme until you get the consistency of heavy cream. Deglaze with the white wine and cook over medium heat until the wine is almost evaporated. Set aside to cool.
When the sauce is cool, strain and turn it into a dressing by adding two parts olive oil, one part lemon juice, the zest of one lemon, and salt to taste.
In a large bowl, mix gently the cubed roasted beets, celeriac, haloumi and the dressing. Add the chopped herbs and the chopped sea fennel and mix again.
To serve, garnish with sea fennel leaves and pistachios.
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