Blog, Dinner

Blood Orange & Beet Salad

0 Comments 14 September 2012

I can’t help but notice all of the gorgeous beets at my local farmers markets.  A couple weeks ago, my husband took the kids for a hike and I had some much needed “me” time.  My activity of choice?  Hitting up the local bakery followed by leisurly perusing at my favorite farmers market.  It was divine.

And the fresh, vibrant produce, that was divine too.  Many of the vendors had beets in an array of colors.  The standard burgundy seems so boring nowadays.  My eyes always dart to the yellow and orange varieties.  All dolled up.  Waiting for the right preparation and someone who cares.  See, beets require a bit of work, but just enough to engage your appreciation for the often times overlooked root vegetable.  It’s not just about pretty looks either, beets are chock full of nutrition, fat free, and act as a strong diuretic. Star nutrients of note: beta carotene, Vitamin B9 (Folate), Vitamin C and Iron.

At my local organic market, the blood oranges are irresistible and the perfect partner for beets in a refreshing simple and healthy salad.  Their flavor has raspberry and strawberry overtones and is less acidic than other oranges.  The deep red color is beautiful and the pulp is sometimes striated with red and orange that mar together.

I love to share heirloom  or non-mainstream varieties of produce with the kids as it seems to help with widening their palates.  The novelty of a new and different color brings excitement to the table.  The kids call blood oranges “Ariel oranges” because the color is reminiscent of Ariel’s hair (she is the Disney mermaid character for those who haven’t been primed in kid oriented culture).  Hey, it got them to eat the blood oranges.  And an important note:  I do not call them “blood” oranges in front of the kids, because even at the tender ages of 3 and 4, they are keenly aware that “blood” represents skinned knees and boo-boos.  “Ariel oranges” it is!

I’ve made this salad a few times when I’ve been in search of a contrast of colors or flavors for a dinner party.  The hue combinations are gorgeous.  You can reverse the colors and opt for red beets and good ole orange oranges.  The oranges, beets, onions and vinaigrette can be prepped in advance and the salad assembled right before serving.

Blood Orange & Beet Salad

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Pear, Berry or Champagne vinegar

2 teaspoons agave syrup

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 blood oranges

¼ small red onion, sliced as thinly as possible

1-2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh mint

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Beets: Remove all but ½ inch of the beet green stems.  Put the beets in a baking dish and add water to a depth of ¼ inch.  Cover tightly and bake until a knife pierces the beets easily, 45-55 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, peel the beets and slice into thin rounds.

Vinaigrette:  Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, agave, salt and pepper to taste.

Oranges:  Cut a slice off the top and bottom of each orange.  Working with one orange at a time, set the fruit on a cutting board, one cut side down.  Slice away the peel from top to bottom, following the contour of the fruit and removing all the white pith.  Slice the orange thinly crosswise.

Assembly:  alternate slices of beet and orange on a platter.  Scatter the onion all around the platter evenly.  Spoon the dressing over the salad.  Sprinkle with the mint and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Sur la Table, 2011.

 

Do you eat beets?

 

 

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