Ever had a recipe you just couldn’t shake? Me too…this one. I wrote a feature for Feast which celebrates our beautiful and bountiful creameries around the midwest, and this was one of the recipes I developed for it (because hey, that’s my job.)
Often when I step back from a feature, long after it’s wrapped and published, I see my mindset during recipe development. Spring features are always challenging to work on; you find yourself working in a completely different season which looks nothing like the one you’re aiming at. I can’t think of a more stark contrast between months than that of March (the publish date) and January, especially when you’re talking about seasonal ingredients.
What I see in this recipe is the transition to brighter days; a look forward into what’s coming, if you will. I see my favorite bursts of light in winter – beets, fennel, lemons – paired with the grassiness of fresh dill and the first farm-fresh cream of the season. It all gets rounded out with tahini and garlic, two of my favorite things any time of year, really, and the result is what you see above: winter meets spring, sunny warmth breaks through damp cold. I’ve never appreciated spring as much as when I can see it coming through food.
Spring recipes don’t always have to be made in the spring. I passed by some beautiful beets and fennel the other day at the market and thought about what a fresh, unexpected addition this dish would make to a harvest or Thanksgiving table. It’s bold, bright, and gorgeous to look at: that photo above was taken by my partner in crime, Jennifer Silverberg, and she definitely captured its golden glow perfectly, but she could find the glow in anything.
Guys, I’ve been having thoughts lately: about how good it feels to write for myself, but also about how the whole concept of blogging has changed dramatically from when I first started. And you know what? I’m not thrilled about it. It’s exhausting re-entering a world that seems to think that the quality of someone’s work or the importance of their voice can be extrapolated by a calculation of followers + likes + social media platforms used. But here I am, because I believe that there’s a bunch of writers and recipe developers out there like me who love creating, and talking with people (online, let’s not go crazy, I’m an introvert IRL), and who don’t give a 💩 about what snapchat filter best represents their day. So I’m going to make some food, and write some things, and keep semi-hating social media and idea that if I’m not a cookbook author, I’m nothing. Let’s hang out, because this here is what I like doing the most.
Making recipes is awesome: you making my recipes is the best. So if you’d like to throw this little beauty together, boom: recipe below: the dressing alone is worth the make, because you can throw it on all sorts of things. It’s also over on Feast’s site, where you can see my entire dairy feature, including all recipes.
Roasted Beets and Fennel with Creamy Tahini-Lemon-Dill Dressing
Serves | 8 to 10 |
Roasted Beets and Fennel
- 2½ lbs red, golden, or Chioggia beets, or a mix (4 to 6, depending on size)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lbs fennel bulb (2 to 3, depending on size)
Creamy Tahini-Lemon-Dill Dressing
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ tsp lemon zest
- 3 Tbsp fresh dill fronds, finely chopped
- juice of 3 to 4 lemons
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- small bunch fresh dill fronds (or fennel fronds from fennel bulbs), for garnish
| Preparation – Roasted Beets and Fennel | Preheat oven to 425°F. Tear aluminum foil in lengths large enough to wrap each beet; set a beet in the middle of each square, and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper; wrap tightly to avoid leaks. Place directly on oven rack to one side, leaving enough room for a sheet pan; roast until tender, 1 hour.
| Preparation – Creamy Tahini-Lemon-Dill Dressing | In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, tahini, garlic, lemon zest and dill fronds until incorporated. Add lemon juice to thin dressing until desired consistency is reached; season to taste with salt and pepper.
| To Serve | Lay fennel wedges out on a serving platter; unwrap beets, slice into wedges and lay around fennel. Garnish with dill or fennel fronds if desired, and serve warm with small bowls of dressing alongside on serving platter.