Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with Peas

5 Jan

I wrote lovingly of pink potato salad a few months ago.  It is a dish that transports me home with the very sight of it.  Nothing has changed my relationship with beets.  I look at them and then pass them over for something a little milder, a little faster, a little less messy.   But today I needed lunch and I wanted something nice.  Something pretty. So I grabbed two potatoes and peeled them.  I placed the potatoes and beets in a cast iron pan coated them in olive oil, seasoned them with salt and pepper, set the oven to 400º and put the vegetables in.  At least they were cooking.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make, but I had an hour to decide.  Beet and potato soup came to mind.  But then I deep cleaned the kitchen and the last thing I wanted to do was to put beets in a blender.  I could just see the deep fuchsia liquid escaping from the blender  and staining the walls and my clothes, forcing me to deep clean all over again. An hour passed and the vegetables came out of the oven.  I let them cool, standing by the stove, watching them, waiting for an idea.  I thought about putting them back in the fridge and making a sandwich but that would put me right back where I started.  And I still wanted something nice for lunch.

So I peeled the beets and sat there thinking about that pink potato salad.  It is what I really wanted, it is what motivated me to take the beets out of the fridge in the first place.  I set out to make a lighter version.  A quick dig in the freezer revealed peas, I steamed them and put them in a bowl, I added olive oil and red wine vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper.  A little mustard contributed acidity and a  some finely diced jalapeño provided heat to cut through the starchiness of the potatoes.  I plated the beets and potatoes and poured the peas and warm vinaigrette over it all. I seasoned it with salt and pepper.

Making my way to the table, I stepped over a sock monkey, Bert and Ernie “napping” in a makeshift bed, a box of crayons and a sippy cup.  I sat down, put a cloth napkin on my lap and took a bite.  It was perfect, exactly what I needed.  Earthy and comforting, substantial and light all at once.  I took another bite, the flavors reminded me of home, exactly as I had hoped.   Isabella came running over from her play kitchen with a wooden banana, onion and slice of cheese balanced on a plate.  She fed me her creation and asked for a bite of mine.  “Pretty good Mama, pretty good,”  she said as she went back to playing.

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