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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Blood Orange, Beets and Black Plum Salad

Blood Orange, Beets and Black Plum Salad

Blood oranges, ruby grapefruits, tangelos, navel oranges, clementines, kumquats... it's been a citrus fiesta for the last couple of months in our house.

While the adults enjoy a fresh grapefruit as breakfast or as dessert, the kids don't seem to care for it, except in blended fruit smoothies.

The deep red flesh (thanks to anthocyanin) and the sweet mellow taste makes blood oranges a special treat. That, and the fact that other than this season it is unaffordable in my budget :) While grapefruit feels quite a bit harshly acidic, bothering my teeth, blood orange seems pretty mild in comparison. The Moro oranges grown in the U.S. are deep red, almost burgundy, and happens to be our favorite.

blood orange

As I was browsing for interesting ways to present blood orange, this Roasted Beet and Blood Orange Salad recipe caught my attention and inspired me to present my version of it for a weeknight dinner, along with some roasted fingerling potatoes.

Salads are very much a favorite first course or even a whole meal on some weeknights, especially in summer when we get fresh greens and tomatoes from our garden. Now, the dressing/vinaigrette is what makes the salad for me. I have been meaning to post a compilation of my favorite dressings here... maybe soon. Sometimes it is just a quick vinaigrette thrown together with no thought, at other times it is based on a special craving, a special flavor to bring out the salad's strength...

Anyway, the ginger-soy hot-and-sweet vinaigrette for this salad is one of our favorites. But, a light red wine vinaigrette or sherry vinaigrette would be good too.

Ingredients
1 blood orange
1 navel orange
1 small black plum
1 can whole beets
4-6 cups baby spinach

Hot-and-Sweet Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp sambal oelek
2 Tbsp kecap manis
4 Tbsp cup blood orange juice, or plain orange juice
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
¼ cup canola oil (more or less)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Blend the ingredients together, adjusting flavors as desired.

Preparation
  1. Cut the canned whole beets into chunks and pan roast them with some canola oil and sambal oelek. Sambal oelek is optional, can use cayenne pepper instead; or leave it out. I like the way the heat of the sambal oelek complements the natural sweetness of the beets as they roast together
  2. Cut chunks of flesh from the oranges, toss together with baby spinach, plums, and pan-roasted beets, adding just enough vinaigrette to suit your taste


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