Saturday, April 4, 2009

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange-Pomegranate Dressing

I'm embarrassed to say that this is the first time I've EVER used the beet greens along with the beets. Usually they get lopped off and tossed, albeit with a twinge of guilt. No more! Who knew that they were so lovely...especially when boiled for 2 short minutes, then doused in the following dressing.
My new fave, Newflower Market here in Austin has great prices on wonderful produce. So after loading up on 2 bunches of organic beets (with their tops!) for 3 bucks, I came home and fired up my oven. I brought this to book club last night and as usually happens when I do that, forgot to take a picture. I've taken one of the leftovers, but know that it's much prettier the day you make it...greens are more green, less melding of colors, etc. It might sound like a lot of work, but it can be done in stages when you have the time. I roasted the beets the day before, and the dressing could certainly have been made the day before.

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange-Pomegranate Dressing:

2 bunches of beets with nice healthy looking tops (I used red and golden beets)
olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400. Wash, dry and trim beets not flush with the beet, but leaving about 1/4 inch of the stems. Individually wrap each beet in a square of foil after having lightly oiled, salt and peppered them. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and just leave them in there while you do other things...make the dressing, wash/chop the beet greens, watch Dr. Oz play with brains on Oprah (or READ ZOMBIE BOOKS!) Just checking to see if you were still with me. Eventually, pull the beets out of the oven and let 'em cool on the counter.

Orange-Pomegrante Dressing:
(adapted slightly from a Cooking Light recipe)

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (please tell me you have this weed in your yard and aren't going to pay 3 bucks for a wee sprig)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
(the original recipe calls for 1 tsp brown sugar, I subbed 1 tsp agave nectar, but will nix next time, as everything else would have been plenty sweet I think. Use your own judgement)
1/4 cup extravirgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly until well combined. (If you have an immersion blender...mix all ingredients except for orange zest, rosemary, and oil. Add oil while blending on low, then stir in the zest and rosemary at the end with a fork.)
This makes a nice amount of dressing that is great used in a couscous salad, with orange and mint, as a marinade for dark meat chicken, salmon, or tofu (which I'm trying tonight), roasted veggies...any number of things I'd expect. All this said, since you're going to have some leftover and it will keep for up to 5 days tightly covered in the refrigerator.

2 bunches of roasted beets, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each.
beet greens from 2 bunches of beets, stems removed then washed and chopped
1/2 of a fist-sized (unless you have huge paws!) red onion, sliced very thinly
2 large oranges, cut into supremes
~1/2 cup or more Orange- Pomegranate dressing
feta (I probably used about 2 ounces)
toasted pine nuts...toast in the pot you're gonna boil the beet greens in so you don't have to wash two things :-)

Bring a sauce pan of water to the boil, add chopped beet greens and cook for 2 minutes. Drain greens, cool a bit, then squeeze out any extra liquid.

Cut off both tail ends of your oranges, set them on one of the flat ends and cut the skin off each, making sure to remove all the membrane. Now, holding the orange in one palm, carefully cut out the segments of orange, along either side of the membrane between each. Continue until you've cut them all out. These are your "supremes". Add them to a largish bowl.

Add the beet wedges, thinly sliced red onion, and 1/2 cup(+) dressing to the oranges and toss gently. Cover and let sit out at room temp for 1 hour. Mine sat out for at least 2 hours before it got eaten. Before serving, toss again in the dressing, crumble feta over the top, and finally sprinkle with toasted pinenuts.

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