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Greek Salad with Pickled Beet "Olives"

['1 cup distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar', '1/2 cup water', '2 tablespoons granulated white sugar', '1/2 cup orange juice', '1 teaspoon whole brown mustard seed', '1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns', '1 medium yellow beet, peeled', '3 garlic cloves, roughly diced', '1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded', '1 green bell pepper, stemmed and seeded', '1 large fennel bulb', '6 cups (one 8-ounce package) romaine heart leaves, washed and dried', '2 tablespoons red wine vinegar', '2 tablespoons olive oil', '1/2 cup low-sodium ricotta', '2 tablespoons chopped low-sodium sun-dried tomatoes', '1 tablespoon fennel seed', '1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved', '1/4 cup diced seeded cucumber', 'Freshly ground black pepper']

To make your pickled beet "olives," start at least a day ahead.
In a small pot or saucepan, mix the vinegar, water, and the sugar. Add the orange juice, mustard seed, and the peppercorns. Bring the pickling liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes or longer.
While the liquid is cooling, cut the beet into olive-size cubes and place them with the garlic in a clean container.
When the liquid is lukewarm, pour it into your container, covering the beets. Close the container tightly, give it 5 or 6 good shakes, and stick the beets in the fridge to cool. In 24 to 48 hours, they will be ready to eat and will stay fresh in the fridge for 1 week.
Once your beets have pickled, it's time to roast your bell peppers. Put them in a baking pan and place under the broiler. Turn the broiler to high and check every 5 minutes or so to see if the skin has blistered and charred. Then, using tongs, rotate the peppers to blister and char the other sides.
Remove the bell peppers from the oven and put them in a paper bag. Close the top and allow them to steam for 15 minutes. When cool to the touch, slide the skin off the peppers and discard. Slice the fl esh horizontally into thin strips and then chop in half. Set aside.
To prepare the fennel, cut the stems and the bottom nub from the fennel bulbs and remove the outer layer if bruised. Cut the bulbs vertically in half. Place the fl at side of each half on a cutting board and slice the fennel into thin, crescent-shaped spears. Discard the hard core and set the fennel spears aside.
Chop the romaine leaves into bite-size pieces and put them in a large mixing bowl, gently tossing with the red wine vinegar and olive oil. Next, place the ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, and fennel seed in another bowl and mix.
To assemble the salad, spread the romaine on a serving dish or platter. Cover with rows of green peppers, fennel, tomatoes, beet, cucumbers, and red peppers. Sprinkle with ricotta and freshly ground black pepper.

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