Monday, January 21, 2013

Roasted Beet and Blood Orange Salad

This is the best time of year for blood oranges, and they're delicious with toasted walnuts and oven-roasted beets, tossed in a citrus salad dressing. You can use endive and make a more formal, structured salad, as I did below, or use mixed greens, which is my personal preference as it holds more dressing. I'll post a picture with that variation the next time I make it. Serves 4

3 blood oranges
1/2 c toasted walnuts
2 lb beets, peeled and cut into 1/2" x 1" pieces
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c EVOO
4 endive or mixed green lettuces, washed and spun thoroughly dry

Preheat oven to 400*F

Prep the beets, put them in one layer on a half-sheet pan, toss with 1.5 TB EVOO and sprinkle with salt. Roast about 45 minutes, turning them over about halfway through, until they're easily pierced with a fork. Watch them carefully: you do want to get good caramelization, but you don't want them to burn. While the beets are roasting, zest one of the blood oranges and squeeze the juice; set aside zest and juice for the dressing. If you haven't already, toast the walnuts now, in a dry pan on the stove or on a tray in the toaster oven and set aside to cool

For the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together 1 TB lemon juice with 2 TB reserved orange juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 6-8 grinds of pepper, and half the zest. Whisking the whole time, stream in the EVOO. You're aiming for a nice blend of lemon/orange. If you want more orange flavor, try adding more of the leftover zest first, then add more orange juice 1 tsp at a time, but remember you'll also need to add another TB or so of EVOO.

For the other 2 oranges: cut off each end, set it on a flat side and cut the peel off from top to bottom in strips, working your way around the orange. Be sure to cut all the pith (white part) off while saving as much orange as possible. Turn the finished orange on its side and cut into 1/4" discs.

For an arranged salad, dip the walnuts, beets and oranges in dressing and place on the endive and drizzle extra dressing over the top. if you like. For a mixed salad, just put everything, including the greens, in a big bowl and toss with your (clean) fingers. They're more efficient than tongs to make sure all the lettuces are coated without drowning the salad in dressing.

I should have used a more colorful plate for the photo, but I didn't think of it until afterwards. We were hungry and wanted to eat, and I needed to get the rest of the meal on the plate. Next time, yes?

Extra picture of my salad dressing experiment with separate spoons to make sure I'm not confusing one taste with another. I made small amounts of 3 different test dressings, messing around with each, before I settled on one.

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