Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Taste of Spring, Finally!

After a nasty weekend of gray, torrential downpours, sunshine has finally descended upon NYC...along with the masses of green from yesterday's St. Patty's festivities. Both of which got me longing for some springtime flavor and vibrant color. So in the spirit of a little 'spring cleaning' for our diets (scary to think, but Memorial Day is inching that much closer), I took what was left in my fridge and made a winter-to-spring salad...using up the last of my blood orange stash before they go out of season and tossing in yellow beets for some bold brightness in gratitude of spring and sunshine. The result is a gorgeous, nutrient-packed dish -- blood oranges are a great source of vitamin C and anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant; beets are also packed with antioxidants and provide a nice 'detox' for your liver for a quick, energizing clean up of toxins and the pistachios add a bonus of cholesterol-lowering healthy fat and yet again, more antioxidants. All that healthfulness and you still end up with a tasty, sneakily sophisticated looking salad - it's a no-brainer for a dinner party. Here are the details...

Roasted Beet Salad with Pistachios, Goat Cheese & Blood Orange Vinaigrette
serves 4

the goods
6 small to medium yellow beets, washed and trimmed
3 blood oranges, 2 peeled and cut into segments, 1 used for juice
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp honey
6 cups mesclun greens or mache
4 Tbsp goat cheese or boucheron (I had a Spanish goat cheese, cana de cabra, on hand so that's what I used - perfectly smooth and tangy)

tbe vinaigrette
1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp blood orange juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp shallot, minced
salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

the breakdown
- preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- wrap beets individually in aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour 15 minutes. allow to cool for about 20 minutes and then remove skin (either gently with a paring knife or rub them with a paper towel).
- toast pistachios in a skillet with canola oil and honey over medium heat for 5 minutes. cool and chop coarsely.
- combine all vinaigrette ingredients and slowly whisk in olive oil until blended.
- once beets are cool, use a mandolin to slice 2 of the 6 into very thin slices. quarter or dice remaining 4 beets.
- toss mesclun greens and diced beets with 4 to 5 Tbsp of vinaigrette.
- arrange a small circle of sliced beets (the thin discs) in the middle of 4 plates. top with mesclun greens, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup diced beets and 6 or so orange segments. sprinkle with 1 Tbsp goat cheese, crumbled and 1 Tbsp chopped honeyed pistachios. drizzle each salad with 1 additional tsp vinaigrette.

the easiest way to segment oranges: cut off each end and then cut skin and pith off of sides, carefully cut each segment out from between membranes.

No comments: