I love beets. Love them. Last year we grew them in our garden for the first time. I thought, for sure 60 plants will be enough to enjoy fresh and enough to pickle some as well. And enjoy them I did. All fresh. All 60 of them. I don’t think Dan got any. Sometimes I have a hard time sharing.
My favorite way to eat beets is to roast them. With just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. So easy, and so delicious. Something that I love about beets is that they have such a long season. You can start eating them mid summer and if you keep them properly, you can have fresh beets through a lot of the winter. I try to eat within the season. Spring and summer have such vibrant and fresh flavors. And although I do love winter vegetables, I do miss the pop of flavor you get from garden fresh veggies in the summer. But having local beets through most of the winter is such a treat.
This salad is easy. Really easy. And at this time of the year, the bright flavor of the beets and blood oranges is a welcome addition to the dinner table. I had seen this combination of beets and blood oranges before. But I had never tried it. I was a bit suspicious. But it is really amazing. They pair really well together. And then the slight crunch of the endive and the walnuts – Alice Waters really got it right with this one. The salad is really fresh tasting, and for a winter salad, that is a hard thing to find.
Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
2 pound red and golden beets
1/2 cup shelled walnuts (optional)
2 blood oranges
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 pound Belgian endive (I used 3/4 pounds to have more crunch)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim and wash the beets. Put them in a roasting pan with a splash of water, cover tightly and roast. While the oven is on, put the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Roast the beets until they are fork tender. For me this took about 45 minutes.
With a sharp paring knife, trim off the top and bottom of each orange. Pare off the rest of the peel, making sure to remove as much of the pith as you can. Sile the oranges in rounds.
Make a vinaigrette by mixing together the vinegar, orange juice and zest. Then stir in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the beets are fork tender, take out of the oven. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel them and slice into rounds. Toss them gently ith the vinaigrette and arrange the beets on a plate with the orange silves and Belgian endive leaves. Drizzle over and remaining vinaigrette and garnish with the walnuts.
Serves 4 to 6