Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blood orange, roasted beet and fennel salad

Normally, this wouldn't be exactly my type of recipe. A couple oranges, beets and a fennel bulb later, Whole Foods is thirty bucks richer and I am having second thoughts. But wait! If you care about flavors at all, if you are an aspiring cook or have ever had dreams of learning the synergy of spices, you owe it to yourself to make this. 

As I partook of a slice of roasted beet soaked in citrus juices, a glossy sliver of fennel loosely embracing it, the shocking gestalt of flavors made my skin tingle. I started waltzing through the kitchen, with my lips shimmering of olive oil and a piece of cilantro hanging ungracefully at the corner of my mouth, and forgot myself. I left the mixture to marinate for a few hours, until dinner. The flavors decided to socialize inside the bowl, and by the time we sat down to eat properly the salad had become so ridiculously tasty that we couldn't stop making yummy noises throughout the meal, interrupting rather anticlimactically the gangster movie we were watching.

Did you ever think to pair beets with oranges? I didn't. This makes me braver to try even edgier combinations.

This salad is not only delicious, it's also absurdly beautiful. Look at the oranges sitting nonchalantly in the bowl, so effortlessly sexy.

Blood orange, roasted beet and fennel salad
~ serves 4

4 medium red beets, cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
2 blood oranges
2 navel oranges
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a heat-proof dish, toss the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 400° in a toaster-oven or regular oven for about 20 minutes. Halfway through, pull the dish out and mix through.

Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut the oranges into thin slices, and try to cut them uniformly for extra prettiness. Place them in a bowl, add lemon juice and lime juice.

Let the beets cool, then add to the bowl with the oranges. Add the sliced fennel and onion. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle cilantro on top. Mix gently and let salad stand for at least 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

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