Epiphany Mango Beet Salad
A trip to an open-air market in the Isthmus of Mexico inspired the creation of this gorgeous, jewel-toned salad. The dressing doesn’t contain any oil but you won’t miss it: the sweetness of the orange juice balances out the tart lime juice and brings the dish together. Bibb or any other mild lettuce can be used in place of the mixed greens. Keep the beet and mango cubes separate until serving to keep their vibrant colors pristine.
4 to 6 Servings
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
- 6 large red beets
- 3 ripe mangoes
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- freshly ground black pepper
To make the dressing: Whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt in a nonreactive bowl and set aside.
To make the salad: Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Spread the macadamia nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. (Watch the nuts closely to make sure they don't burn.) Wrap the toasted nuts in a dishtowel and smash once or twice with an iron skillet to crumble. Set aside. (The nuts can be toasted up to 2 days ahead of time. Store covered at room temperature.)
Increase the oven temperature to 400ºF. Wash the beets and cut the tops off, leaving a 2-inch stem. Wrap individually in foil and roast for 1 to 1½ hours, until fork-tender. Let cool completely. Peel the beets by slipping off the skins, then cut into 1-inch cubes. Set aside. (The beets can be roasted up to 2 days ahead of time and stored covered in the fridge.)
To cube the mangoes, hold it with the stem end up and cut straight down on either side of the pit to reveal two pitless halves. Score the mango flesh with the tip of a paring knife to form 1-inch squares on a grid, cutting downward through the flesh but not through the skin. Turn the mangoes inside out to pop up the mango squares and cut them off. Set aside.
In a large salad bowl, toss the greens and mint leaves with three quarters of the dressing and season with salt and black pepper. Top the greens with the mangoes and beets, being careful not to overlap the two to avoid coloring the mango. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad. Sprinkle with the crumbled macadamia nuts. Serve immediately, as the citrus dressing will wilt the greens.