The inspiration for this stunning salad started with the inaugural event of OC Bites last Saturday; sponsored by Melissa’s Produce , with the always charming Cathy Thomas entertaining us and signing her new cookbook Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce.
Attendees, an enthusiastic and friendly group of food lovers, received a copy of the book and a gourmet lunch entirely made from this season’s finest, organic produce from Melissa’s and prepared by the three talented founders of OC Bites: Chef Renee Fontes, Chef Louise Mellor, and Chef Debbie Dubbs. I’m so excited about what this group is planning and I encourage you to join if you’re a food writer, food lover, or adventurer!
Now on to the recipe for the salad! And, I see you drooling over the luscious berries and chocolate 🙂 I WILL get the recipe for the coconut rum sabayon sauce that was served along with the chocolate for a sensuous (but healthy) dessert! You don’t have to save these elegant, but easy, recipes for Valentine’s Day!
Unlike chocolate, beets are widely misunderstood and it seems that most people either love them or hate them. I happen to love beets now, when I was a kid – not so much. Fortunately, the last few years have seen a boon in beet’s popularity largely due to mainstream restaurants including roasted beets in salads paired with goat cheese or topped with feta on their menus.
Citrus and beets are another great duo as you’ll discover once you take a bite of this visually arresting salad which balances the earthiness of beets with the sweet-sour flavor of blood oranges. Pomegranate seeds are the third red component and add a delightful crunchy-pop texture and beautiful garnish for the presentation.
Red Times Three Salad
From Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce, by Cathy Thomas | Serves 6
3 blood oranges*
½ cup sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
3 to 4 medium beets, roasted, peeled and sliced**
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Optional garnish: crumbled goat cheese
1. Using a microplane, zest (grating off the colored portion of the peel) one orange before removing the peel from the oranges. Use a sharp knife to remove the peel from all the oranges: slice off top and bottom of each orange, place cut side down on work surface and cut off peel and pith in strips, cutting from top to bottom following the contour of the fruit. Cut oranges into crosswise slices about 3/8-inch thick.
2. Prepare vinaigrette: In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine zest, vinegar, and salt; stir to dissolve salt. Whisk in oil. Add onion and basil. Stir and taste: adjust seasoning as needed.
3. Arrange beet slices in single layer on 6 salad plates. Top with orange slices, arranging them in single layer so part of the beet slices show. Stir vinaigrette and spoon over beets and oranges. Top with pomegranate seeds. If desired, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.
*If blood oranges aren’t available, substitute navel oranges, Cara Cara oranges or tangerines. Rather than a Red Times Three Salad, you’ll have a flavorful salad of beautifully contrasting colors of red and orange 🙂
Blood oranges have an orange skin with deep purplish-red blush. The flesh is a deep crimson color (or streaked with crimson) and often more mature fruit has more of a blood-red color like the one above. They are easy to peel, often seedless, and less acidic than other varieties.