February 6, 2013
I’m here in Chicago today nervously gearing up for my appearance on WGN’s Lunchbreak to talk about Valentine’s Day for two (and share one of my favorite new recipes). But I just couldn’t wait to share this salad I made last weekend with you. The way it’s composed on the plate is just beautiful and tastes damn good. Most beet salads have cheese, but the way the ingredients came together on their own made the cheese unnecessary. Also, dressings that are too acidic are a challenge to pair with wine. I’m always concocting new wine-friendly salad dressings that are light on acid but still full of flavor. (Is it okay if I have a glass of wine right now?? It might help with the pre-show jitters).
Beet Salad with Tangerines and Marcona Almonds
Serves 4-6 people
4 tangerines, preferably Clementines or Satsumas, segments of two and juice of two
Pick Notes: Our Clementine trees are full of delicious fruit right now. Clementines are sweeter than the Satsumas, but occasionally do have seeds. When you are peeling the fruit you can give a little pinch at the top of each segment and any seeds will pop to the surface. My non-scientific study is about three segments in the whole fruit will have seeds.
6 medium size beets
Mache, about 4 cups
1/3 cup Marcona almonds
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Boil beets in salted water for 30 minutes (some beets take longer than others to cook, so check their doneness by piercing with a knife). Peel the skin off by rubbing with a paper towel. The skins should come off very easily– beets do stain so be prepared with an apron to protect your clothes. If you’ve just had a manicure, then for God’s sake wear some gloves.
Cut the beets in half and then segment those halves in thirds. We are making lots of segments here. Take a peek at the photo of the finished salad:
While your beets boil, make the dressing. Mix the tangerine juice with the vinegar and whisk in the oil. This is where you want to use the best quality olive oil you have. Add the salt and taste.
Toss the beets in about 1/4 cup of the dressing and add some salt and pepper. Then let it sit for up to one hour tossing with a spoon from time to time. (If you have the time. If not, don’t worry about it).
Peel the other two tangerines into segments. The beets and the tangerines should be the same shape, just different sizes.
Assemble the salad. Just before eating, assemble the salad by tossing the Mache with the dressing. Add a small amount of the dressing and toss with tongs, taste and add more if needed. Position the beets in three piles on the platter and fill in the negative space with greens. Next, add the tangerine slices, nestling them all around the platter. Finish by sprinkling over the green onions, the almonds, sea salt and ground pepper.