I have a love-love relationship for beets. As a child, the only way I could get them was found at the salad bar at a restaurant I affectionately called, "Tom & Tates." I guess you could call me the oddball kid in the family (perfectly in the middle), who choked down dry lima beans, gladly ate dinner without complaint and chose a salad with loads of lettuce, pineapple, sunflower seeds, ham & plump beets.
It would be years and years until I would travel back to the culinary halls of my youth, to reacquaint myself with these bedazzled rubies. Maybe my birthstone of the field called out to me and I finally answered the call.
Truth be told, my greater love for these little guys is watching my oldest delight in them ever since she was a wee one. As I have tried every which way to incite Ben to share my love, to no avail has he joined V and my chorus.
Last night I shared a meal with my friend Kristi, where we found our mutual love for beets confessed. She mentioned it's the earthy taste she loves; but, enjoys golden beets a bit more than common red ones. If you're one who finds red beets a bit too earthy, or too sweet; then, you will find this salad just right.
About the Salad:
Allowing the roasted beets to marinate in the apple cider vinegar-dijon mustard vinaigrette cuts back on the sugary side, while enhancing a more rounded flavor of them. The fennel adds both textural crunch, and a lingering licorice sweetness to balance the acid from the vinaigrette. Meanwhile, the orange is nature's candy and chives give the salad an overall subtle sharp spice. And if you're anything like my girls, the only thing remaining will be a pink stained bowl at the end of the meal.
Roasted Beet-Orange-Fennel & Shallot Salad (printable recipe)
4-5 medium sized beets
small shallot, small dice 1/4-1/3 cup
2 medium oranges
1/4 of fennel bulb
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tb raw apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp salt
couple grinds of pepper
fresh chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 400. Take your beets and scrub them clean. Using a paring knife, cut off the tips if they're really long and the stem end. Take aluminum foil and put your raw, clean beets inside and wrap them up (completely sealed) in the foil. Place on a baking sheet to avoid dripping, and roast for an hour.
Open up the foil and allow the beets to cool, probably 30 minutes. Once cooled, remove the skin. You can easily do this by rubbing it off with your bare hands (my preferred option) or using a paring knife.
Using a chef knife and cutting board, you will want to cut your beets into a medium chop (this is 1/2 in or 12 mm). Place all of your medium cut beets into a bowl and set aside.
Clean your cutting board to ensure the beets do not stain the other foods.
In a measuring cup, add the extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper, dijon mustard. Mix and set aside for other ingredients.
Take your shallots and cut them into a brunoise, which is a bit smaller than a small dice and measures 1/8 in or 3 mm (in France a brunoise is cut smaller, we are not going for the smaller cut). Add your shallots to the vinaigrette.
Take your oranges and cut off stem end, which will expose the orange. Proceed to cut the opposite end to expose the orange. Now, taking your chefs knife, cut all the peel off, which should leave you with an orange sans peel. You can choose to cut your orange in two ways. Do as I did, and simply cut in more rustic style into 1/8 inch slices. If you do this, you will still have some of the orange membrane.
Your other option is to cut out orange segments, here's a video.
Take two of your orange slices or segments and squeeze the juice into the vinaigrette bowl. Stir everything together. Pour the vinaigrette over the beets, mixing thoroughly and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to 4 hours (the longer the better). Cover and put in fridge.
With the remainder orange slices or segments, set them aside in a bowl, cover it and put in the fridge.
When you're ready to eat, I recommend bringing your beets out and allowing it come to room temperature. In fact, if we're being honest, I left these beets out on the counter and never refrigerated them like I told you to do. Place your oranges on top of your beets.
Taking a quarter of a fennel bowl, be sure to remove the outer layer and any leafy greens, cut into very thin slices. You will need about 1/8 to 1/4 cup (not packed in). Kindly place your fennel over the oranges and beets.
Now, do you have kitchen shears? You should. Take your fresh chives and cut them into 1/8 or 1/4 inch cuts and sprinkle them over the beet salad.