I was inspired to re-create the salad often served at Fabrika tou Efrosynou, our favorite Athens tavern, in Koukaki. Sliced apples are mixed in the tavern’s salad, and the beets used are usually very small and tender. But since it isn’t easy to find this kind of beets unless you grow your own, I have adapted the salad for the more common large beets, omitting the apples.
Traditionally we boil the beets in water until tender, cooking the greens and stems separately, before assembling them in a salad, which is often complemented with Skordalia (garlic sauce).
6 beets of any color, cooked in boiling salted water until tender, peeled and sliced or cut into chunks
1 1/2 pounds beet greens cooked in boiling salted water until tender, and drained
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3-4 tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
5-6 tablespoons fruity olive oil, or more, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Leaves of 3-4 fresh mint sprigs, torn into pieces
Assemble the salad: Arrange the cooked beets, stems and greens in a bowl or platter.
Make the dressing combining the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a jar with well-fitting lid, and shake for a few seconds to fully combine.
Taste and adjust the flavor, then pour over the beets. Sprinkle with the walnuts and mint.
Serve warm, or at room temperature.