Beets and mandarin oranges are plentiful in my local grocery store, as both are in season. I recently had a delicious beet salad with mandarin oranges at the Trellis Restaurant in Kirkland. Then last week I had a great beet salad with mascarpone (no mandarins) at Tulio in Seattle. I liked both salads very much and decided to combine the flavors from both salads and came up with what you see here. This is about as easy a salad as you can get other than stopping at your local salad bar (which I am never in favor of). You do have to roast the beets, but it is quite easy, just have to account for the time in the oven and then chilling the beets. I really enjoy the crunchiness of the finishing salt and the great flavor when the beets are swathed in really good olive oil and a rich balsamic vinegar. So instead of serving “same old, same old”, why not try something different this holiday season? And yes, there is that “festive” factor too of the red and green!
Ingredients:6 medium size red beets (I used organic) 4 Tbl. olive oil 3 Tbl. balsamic vinegar 2 mandarin oranges Pink finishing salt 1 container Mascarpone cheese Baby frisee lettuce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut off stems, leaving about 1″ on end. Thoroughly wash beets and place on aluminum foil. Generously pour a few glugs of olive oil and a light sprinkle of kosher salt. Wrap up edges and roast for 45-60 minutes. I check them at 45 with a fork to see if they are tender.
- When cool, peel the beets with your hands (wear gloves) – it should drop off easily. Slice into thin slices.
- On dish add a layer of the sliced beets, two spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese on either end and top each mound with mandarin sections. Add some frisee in the center of the beets. Drizzle olive oil on top and then a bit of balsamic vinegar.
- Lastly, sprinkle some finishing salt over the top. I used Pink Finishing Salt to complement the red of the beets (and largely because that is what I had in my pantry).
Yield: Serves 6
- The ancient Romans considered beets an important health food and an aphrodisiac
- Beets contain betaine and trytophan so it relaxes the mind and contributes to a sense of well being.
- Beets can be made into wine that tastes similar to port.
- Down under the Aussies require a slice or two of beets on their burgers (as important as adding onions as we do in the States).