This is a delicious salad with unusual ingredients which work perfectly together. Beet greens are often cut off and thrown away at the market, but these days at farmers’ markets or at Whole Foods, they come with the the beets. They are not high-flavor like collards (my favorite green), and much more like Swiss chard or fresh spinach. In fact you can substitute chard or spinach in this recipe.
The other important ingredient is garlic tuna. I used to buy small jars of tuna which had been packed and marinated in olive oil and garlic with a taste of lemon; then realized that I could use inexpensive commercial tuna and add the ingredients and end up with the same excellent taste. The garlic and lemon add incredible flavor to the tuna, and when the mixture is combined with the greens, the result is very high flavor indeed.
The shrimp are optional, and I added them because I had some left over from the night before. I marinate the shrimp all day in Cajun and Bay spices (with a little olive oil), then sear them in a super-hot iron skillet. Cold and put in a salad, especially with the spices on them, they add an addition interesting and complementary flavor. Canned octopus (pulpo), Vigo brand, are delicious with a high fish flavor which is perfect for the medium flavor greens.
You can be as simple or as varied as you want with all the ingredients except the greens and the tuna. Shrimp or octopus go extremely well with the tuna and greens. Adding fresh beets and avocado also adds color, flavor, and texture.
Beet Green Salad with Garlic Tuna and Shrimp
* 1 lg. can solid white albacore tuna, marinated (overnight or 4-5 hours) in olive oil, two cloves garlic, sliced; and three strips lemon peel
* 6 jumbo shrimp marinated in Cajun and Bay spice (overnight or 4-5 hours)with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, then pan-seared in a very hot iron skillet, peeled, cooled, and cut into 1/2” pieces (optional)
* 1/2 can Vigo octopus (optional)
* 1 bunch beet tops steamed and chopped. Use one bunch if the leaves are plentiful. Farmers’ market beets usually have full, long, rich greens, while supermarkets tend to have shorter and fewer leaves. If you buy beets with fewer leaves, you will need at least two or three rounds
* 1 lb. fresh spinach or Swiss chard, steamed and chopped
* 2 beets, boiled low for about 45 minutes or until done, then cut into 1” pieces (optional)
* 1/2 ripe avocado, cut into large pieces (optional)
* 2-3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
* 3-4 medium winter tomatoes (these come packaged and are found in supermarkets. They have a lot of taste; but be sure NOT to buy the non-packed, stem-on, good-looking but tasteless tomatoes from Holland or hothouses in California), cut into quarters
* 1/2 red onion chopped
* salt, ground pepper to taste
- Steam the beet tops or spinach, drain, chop, then press the remaining liquid out and reserve
- Prepare the marinated tuna
- Prepare the shrimp (optional)
- Slice the tomatoes and chop the onion
- Plate the greens and place the tuna, shrimp or octopus, tomatoes, beets, avocado, and onion on top (use your imagination to create an attractive-looking arrangement)
- Drizzle with the olive oil, add salt and pepper, and serve