Baby Beet Salad with Marcona Almonds, Pickled Oranges, Idiazabal Cheese, and Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Cúrate and Nightbell, Asheville, NC
Make this bright, Spanish-inspired salad in winter, when citrus is at its best.
Pickled and Candied Orange Slices:
- 3 whole oranges, sliced with peels left on
- 1 scant cup sugar
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 whole cloves
- 1/4 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup water
Blood Orange Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice, strained
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, strained
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, strained
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
Baby Beet Salad:
- 1 bunch baby gold beets, tops removed
- 1 bunch baby chiogga/candy cane beets, tops removed
- 1 bunch baby red beets, tops removed
- 8 cups mixed baby lettuces
- 1 orange, peeled and segmented
- 1/4 cup Marcona almonds, chopped
- 2 sprigs tarragon
- Mahon cheese slices
Make the pickled and candied orange slices: place the slices in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering for 1 hour. Strain the orange slices and return them to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to help dissolve the sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Separate the orange pulp from its rind and discard. Slice the rind into 1/8-inch-thick strips. Reserve.
Make the blood orange vinaigrette: combine the juices in a blender. Slowly add the oils while the blender is running. Season with salt to taste. Reserve.
Make the beets: place the gold and chiogga beets in a pot and cover with cold water. Place the red beets in a separate pot and cover with cold water. Cover both pots and bring to a boil. Cook the beets until tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. When the beets are almost done, prepare an ice bath. Transfer the cooked beets to the ice bath to chill. When cold, peel off the skins and discard. Rinse the beets in cold water and cut into quarters.
Divide the lettuce among 4 serving bowls. Top with beet pieces, sliced orange rind, fresh orange segments, Marcona almonds, tarragon leaves, and cheese slices. Drizzle with blood orange vinaigrette.