february 11, 2017
February is the month for citrus. Fragrant chubby orbs of red and pink grapefruit, knobby headed tangelos, munchkin clementines, glossy Meyer lemons and vivid cara cara oranges – I love them all, and love to feature them on menus for The Good Eats Company.
Impatient for the market arrival of blood oranges, I jumped the gun and added them to the January menu, but these bitter crimson fruits have just now made their annual appearance. So this month’s menu includes roasted pork tenderloin with blood orange dijon glaze and salad greens with a tangy blood orange vinaigrette. Today, just in time for Valentine’s Day, if you are cooking at home, I offer a salad with three bitter elements – arugula, blood orange and golden beet – balanced with a slightly sweet chia seed agave vinaigrette. The colors are stunning (remember you eat with your eyes first) and, best yet, there is no cooking! Have you ever had raw beets? Sliced thinly on a mandoline, or grated into a salad, they taste more of earth and less of honey than their roasted version.
Can’t find blood oranges? Use navel oranges instead. Or make my Citrus Napa Cabbage Salad. If golden beets are hard to find, use other root vegetables like carrot, rutabaga or turnip sliced thinly on the mandoline. Improvisation is always good in the kitchen. Almost any sweet-tart vinaigrette would work with this salad, and I add chia seeds to this red wine vinegar base for the texture and visual appeal. Used immediately, the chia seeds are crunchy, and if the dressing settles in the fridge, they take on a more slippery feel as they swell in liquid. Since this is an olive oil dressing, chilling will make it too thick for drizzling, so allow the vinaigrette to soften at room temperature if you make it ahead.
Happy Valentine’s Day and, as always, happy cooking.
Blood Orange Beet Salad
makes four salads
chia seed vinaigrette
2 level teaspoons Dijon mustard
pinch fine sea salt
pinch finely ground white pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon pure agave syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups loosely packed baby arugula
2 large or four small golden beets, peeled and sliced thinly on mandoline
2 large or four small blood oranges, peeled and sliced thinly *
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
* cook’s note : to slice blood oranges, use sharp knife to remove a thin slice of top and bottom of fruit, then use downward motion all around to remove peel and bitter white pith, leaving smooth and rounded fruit for slicing horizontally
- In small mixing bowl, whisk mustard with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar; in steady stream, whisk in olive oil until well blended, then add chia seeds; may be made ahead one week.
- On large plates, arrange beet and blood orange on bed of arugula, then crumble feta atop salad, then drizzle vinaigrette across salad just before serving.