Sunday, February 22, 2009

Roasted Beet Salad With Citrus Dressing

When Pam was in town visiting me last week, our friend Lisa had us over for a delicious dinner. The salad course was total eye candy. First we eat with our eyes, and this was a feast. The colors of the deep wine red and sunset golden beets were magnificent. They played against the fresh green of the lettuce and avocado, the white crumbles of goat cheese and the flirty pink grapefruit. My jaw was dropping and I was salivating. I even forgot that beets were not high on my list of favorites. My mom used to make pickled beets and they had a gag factor of about 15 on a scale of 1-10. Nothing against my mom, but the flavors just didn't do it for me. Pickled anything is pretty low on my food chain. Beets have an unique earthy taste that can be off putting. But.....I was still excited to try this salad since it had many favorites in it, and I am a sucker for beauty. I loved it. Now I had to go home and make it for you. I added a few of my own touches and made a citrus vinaigrette. This salad is a tasty show stopper. As I ate it, I marveled at the beet red juice as it swirled with the citrus dressing and made patterns like that spinning paint art we all did as a kid. I am now a fan.
Roasted Beet Salad With Citrus Dressing

6 ounces mesclun greens

3 small red beets

3 small golden beets*
1 ripe avocado
1/3 cup red onion
1 pink grapefruit
2-3 sprigs fresh dill, separated from stems
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
lemon and orange zest, grated

*if golden beets are unavailable, use red beets.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash beets, cut off tops** leaving a 2 inch tuft. Wrap in foil and roast for about 1 hour or more, depending on size, until cooked through. Let cool in foil slightly and peel skins using your fingers. Once cool, slice or cube. Peel, slice and pit avocado. Slice the red onion into paper thin slices. Cut grapefruit in half and cut out sections, without the skins. Place the mesclun on a plate, top with the sliced avocado, red onion slices, grapefruit sections, and dill sprigs. Arrange the beets along the sides and sprinkle on the crumbled goat cheese and some grated citrus zest. Pour Citrus Vinaigrette over the salad and serve. Makes 2 main course salads or 4 side salads.

**Beet green tops are delicious chopped and sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic, with a squeeze of lemon.

Citrus Vinaigrette

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste

Using a micro plane grater, grate lemon and orange zest.
Mix lemon and orange juice together and whisk in Dijon mustard. Add zest of lemon and orange. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify. Stir in cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste.
Makes 1 cup.

Written and photographed by Diane.

Download recipe (pdf)

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