Friday, March 08, 2013

Beet Salad with Oranges and Olives

Beets can sometimes seem more like a job than a vegetable. They have to be peeled, they leave their inky stain all over everything, and they need to cook for a good long while. But in payoff, they're fairly delicious. Especially in a salad like this.

As mountains of recipes attest, beets pair beautifully with goat cheese. But I would argue that combing them with oranges and olives may even be better. The juicy citrus punch and oily brine are lovely complements for the dense sweetness of the roots, taking them out of the earth and into the well-balanced world of salad.

And also: so pretty! As someone who can barely coordinate a passable professional outfit, I'm entranced by this study in purple and orange and green (which a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and red onions only serve to highlight). For taste as well as aesthetics, a handful of chopped chives, parsley, mint, or other green herb would make things all the better (these were sadly lacking from my refrigerator, and I was too lazy to walk down the street and pluck a few of the neighbor's mint leaves). But even without, the resulting salad feels like a special occasion, all bright and festive, and manages to be spectacularly healthy to boot.

And if you have a smarter/easier/neater/quicker preferred way of cooking beets (as doubtless many of you do), feel free to substitute that method instead. Any way you slice em (or roast em, or boil em, or steam em), they'll be lovely when paired with friends like these. 

Beet Salad with Oranges and Olives

serves 2-3 (I recommend doubling it if you're going to make it, as it's really nice)

1 bunch beets (3-4 large)
dollop of honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar (a mild one, such as sherry, is nice)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon finely diced red onion 1 orange, supremed (handy tutorial here if you've never done this)
1 handful green olives, pitted and broken in half
1 handful chopped pistachios

Preheat your oven to 450° Fahrenheit.

While the oven is preheating, peel the beets, and cut into wedges (either quarters or sixths, depending upon their size). Place in a pot of water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until they're soft but not quite done, ~10 minutes. Drain, place in a small casserole dish, and toss with a drizzle of oil. Place in the oven and roast until they're fully cooked and just beginning to get some sweetness around the edges, ~10 more minutes.

While the beets are cooking,  In a small bowl, pour any accumulated orange juice, the honey, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Whisk to combine, and taste to adjust seasoning. Place the onions in the dressing to allow them to mellow.

When the beets have cooked, let them cool slightly, then scatter them on a serving dish or individual salad plates. Add the oranges, then scatter the olives and pistachios on top. Give the dressing a stir, pour over the salad, and serve.

1 comment:

  1. This looks delicious and is just the inspiration I needed since I have both beets and oranges sitting in my fridge. For some reason the usual roasted beet + tasty green + tasty cheese combo wasn't calling to me.