18 January 2010

A Wintertime Salad - Beet and Pink Grapefruit Salad

This posting must be approached by entertaining two premises. One, eating seasonal is good. Two, using cold crop veggies in weird combinations can be interesting. That being said, we can move on. I found this salad recipe in a book by Betty Fussell called Food In Good Season.  Silent Bob loves beets. My favorite veggie green is spinach. We both gobble up walnuts in all their manifestations. When you find a vegetable dish that includes both veggies AND those wonderful nuts, what could be better?

Hiel and I tried it this evening and we both decided that the recipe works, but needs some tweaking.  We've decided that you shouldn't be shy about using the dressing. You should try to get at least three of the ingredients on your fork when talking a bite - the flavors really do complement each other.  Those who aren't big on citrus could skip the grapefruit and make it a Beet and Spinach Salad and it would be just dandy. When making the dressing, add some of the slivered onions to the liquid salad dressing ingredients and blend them in... it makes the dressing a wonderful pungent taste blast. Finally, we decided that this salad needs to be paired with beef or pork, as it's flavors are powerful and need an equally powerful meat accompaniment. We had ours with a pepper-crusted top sirloin steak broiled medium-rare and roasted potatoes.

So ...the tweaked version is here for your testing. If you find a small adjustment that works, we sure would appreciate you sending a comment to help us perfect it! In the meantime, enjoy the weirdness!

Preheat oven: 350 º F

4 medium-sized beets
3 pink grapefruit sections, small dice
½ c. purple onion slivers
four generous servings of fresh baby spinach, washed and spun out
½ c. chopped walnuts, toasted
¼ c. olive oil
1 tbsp. walnut oil
2 tbsp. raspberry vinegar
6 slivers of purple onion
¼ tsp. lemon zest (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Wash and snip the greens from beets and place then in a covered casserole.

Bake for 25 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.

Peel the beets and quarter them. Slice thinly into bite-sized pieces and keep them warm.

Slice the grapefruit sections into very small pieces.

In a covered non-stick pan, toss the spinach (and cleaned beet greens if they are in decent shape) with a tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Cover and wilt them for a minute or two.

Arrange them on a pretty salad platter, top with the some of the beets, grapefruit, onions, and walnuts. Arrange the rest of the beets to the side for unadulterated nibbling.

Make the dressing from the olive oil, walnut oil, onion slivers, lemon zest, raspberry vinegar, and salt and pepper by zapping it with a hand blender until it is creamy.

Drizzle over the top of the salad and serve while the greens and beets are warm.

Note: You may not want to use all the dressing. Drizzle some to flavor the salad and definitely have the rest ‘on the side’ at table. Some might like to add a small amount of crumbled feta or perhaps a soft sliver of Fontina cheese on the side.

Servings: 4

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