Wednesday, April 04, 2012

An Early Spring Salad


Right now is the transition time between winter salads and spring salads. There are certainly asparagus which can be blanched or steamed and added to your salad and avocados are plentiful, too. In general, though if you are going seasonal, there will be a wait for local tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and beans to liven the salad bowl.

One of the great additions to salads right now are beets. One of our local farms have them from thumb sized to super large. The local market had organic Chiogga beets on sale so I bought some, took them home, cleaned them well with a brush and water, trimmed off some of the roots, oiled them lightly, wrapped them in foil and baked them in the toaster oven at 350 until they were tender when pierced with a knife (about 25 minutes). Since I didn't need them for the salad until the next day, I just kept them in the foil packet and put that right in the fridge. I peeled and sliced them when it was time to make the salad.

The dressing for this salad also uses a seasonal ingredient...fresh orange juice and zest. I'm not sure why but oranges and beets go really well together. The greens are mixed organic baby greens and I tossed them with the dressing, piled them on salad plates, then coated the peeled, sliced beets and some peeled, separated mandarin orange slices in the dressing. Arrange the dressed fruit and beets over the dressed salad greens, then scatter some candied pecans over it all and serve.

The tender Chiogga beets are really pretty with the rings of color, plus they don't 'bleed' while you are preparing them like red beets do. Their flavor is a bit more mellow, too. Do try this easy salad while you are waiting for future bounty from the garden. You may not even miss vine ripened tomatoes (too much).

Here's some spring flowers to get you in the mood.


Citrus Vinaigrette

Juice from one large orange (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons orange zest, colored part only
1/2 teaspoon Dijon type mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients into a jar with a tightly fitting lid. Fasten the lid and shake until the dressing emulsifies. Remove the lid, taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. Keep chilled until you use it and chill any left over.


4 comments :

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Always so good to know we think so much alike. Beets have been on my mind and in my salads lately too.

tanita davis said...

Oooh, Chiogga beets. Can't wait to grow those again - they're so beautiful, and they indeed have a more ...mellow, earthy-sweet flavor that pairs well with citrus.

Elizabeth said...

Yours beet salad looks and sounds wonderful! I'm always so amazed by beets that aren't red. They're stunning, aren't they?

We too have been adding beets to salads lately. We recently made beet slaw with raisins. Pecans would have been a nice addition too. Next time...

Are those flowers from your garden? How beautiful!

Elle said...

Tanna, It is interesting how our minds are similar...and glad you are enjoying beet season,too.

Tanita, Now I want to plant some...to keep all those tomatoes company I guess. :)

Elizabeth, was the slaw with raw beets? Sounds yummy. Yes those are some flowers from the garden. The tulips are blooming like mad right now.