The only part of the recipe that is sort of lengthy is cooking the beets and peeling the blood oranges. Although, I added all the ingredients, I recommend omitting the blood oranges – as they take a significant amount of time to peel and aren’t really necessary for the salad to taste amazing!
The beets can be cooked a day or two in advance. The beets must be soaked in the vinaigrette for 2-4 hours before the salad is assembled. Serves 6 people.
Baby Beet Salad Ingredients:
- 3 bunches mixed baby beets, 3-4 lb total weight
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 cups arugula (rocket) leaves, washed and patted dry
- 4 oranges, preferably blood oranges
- 1/2 cup sugared walnuts (see recipe below)
- 1/3 cup (3 fl oz) plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- grated zest of one orange
- 1/2 cup ( 2 oz) walnut pieces
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If the beet greens are attached, cut them off, leaving about 1 inch of the stem intact. The greens can be used for another use. Place the beets in a roasting pan along with the garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons water and thyme and toss to mix. I actually replaced the thyme with rosemary, as I did not have thyme available and the recipe still came out great. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and roast the beets until tender when pierced with a knife, 30-40 minutes. The beets took about 1 hour to cook in the oven that I used. Let cool to room temperature. Using a kitchen towel, gently rub the beets to remove the skins. I actually used a knife edge to help peel the beets. I supposed you could also use a peeler. Cut each beet in half or into wedges and transfer to a bowl. (Cover or seal in a container and refridgerate if you’re making them ahead of time).
To make the sugared walnuts, in a bowl, toss the walnuts with the canola oil. Add the sugar and toss to evenly coat. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add teh walnuts and saute just until they start to brown and the sugar begins to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and let cool. The walnuts can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a day.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, olive oil and orange zest. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the beets, toss to coat and let stand at room temperature for 2-4 hours.
Using a small, sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of each orange to reveal the flesh. Working with 1 orange at a time, stand it upright on a cutting board and thickly slice off the peel and pith in strips, following the contour of the fruit. Holding the orange in one hand over a bowl, cut along either side of each section to release it from the membrane, letting the sections drop into the bowl. Repeat with the remaining oranges. Pour any juice in the bowl over the beets.
Scatter the arugula leaves over a platter. I used a bag of mixed greens instead of just arugula. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beets from the vinaigrette and place over the greens along with the orange sections, onion slices and walnuts. Drizzle a little of the vinaigrette over the top and garnish with parsley.