Who’d have thought that oranges, beets and fennel would go together and make a great salad. I saw a photograph and the recipe and was fascinated. I love all the main ingredients and was happy to try them together. I’m glad I did. The root and fruit flavors meld beautifully under a couple of spoonsful of citrus juice and drizzle of olive oil. This salad is so beautiful, it deserved a plate of its own. It will get that on a weekend or for company!
I served the salad with grilled lamb shoulder chops and three bites of potato with a yogurt dill sauce. When I get a crave lamb, I frequently get shoulder chops. They are thin, have a bit of bone in them and grill beautifully in mere minutes. I season them with a light rub of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, pepper and garlic power and a generous shake or two of dried oregano that I rub into the meat and seasonings. You get a great lamb meal at a very reasonable $4.99/lb. I had two chops in a package for under $4.00.
Orange, Beet and Fennel Salad
2 medium red beets, tops trimmed*
2 medium golden beets, tops trimmed
3 blood oranges
1 medium navel orange (preferably Cara Cara)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline (about 1/3 cup) Reserve fennel leaves.**
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline (about 1/3 cup)
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil, pumpkin seed or walnut oil (for drizzling)
Coarse sea salt or other finishing salt and freshly ground back pepper
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro and/or chervil leaves for optional garnish
Preheat oven to 400º. Wash beets, leaving some water on skins. Wrap individually in foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife – about 50 minutes to an hour.
Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut and discard all peel and white pith from the oranges. Working over a medium bowl, cute between membranes of two blood oranges to release segments into bowl. squeeze juice from membranes and discard membranes. (I can’t do this. I eat the membrane because there is always tissue and juice left on them to savor.) Slice remaining blood orange and Cara Cara oranges crosswise into thin rounds. Place sliced oranges in bow with the segments. Add lemon juice and lime juice.
Peel cooled beets. Peels should be loose and slip off the beets with gentle finger rubs. Slice two beets into wedges. Cut remaining two beets into wedges. Strain and reserve citrus juices. Layer beets and oranges on plates, dividing evenly. Arrange fennel and onion over beets. Spoon reserved citrus juices over assembled salad and drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let salad stand for five minutes to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with cilantro and/or chervil leaves.
*Fresh beet leaves can be removed from the stems, chopped and steamed as a side dish. I like to steam them with paper thin slices of garlic.
** Fennel leaves may be stripped from their stems and sprinkled over the salad as a garnish.