I first made this salad for my visiting brother, David, and his wife, Pat. What I didn’t realize until much later, was that this became one of Patti’s all time favorite dishes. She went home and made it and made it and made it so many times that finally David said, “Again? Patti it’s really good but enough already!”
We all love beets in our family – after all we’re Polish and the Poles practically only have root vegetables, as my son tells me after living there for two different six month stints. Beets are served at almost every meal, along with horseradish. Soon, I’ll post our all-time family favorite recipe of beets and horseradish, as we get closer to Easter, as it is an imperative Easter breakfast dish in our household.
But I digress. My brother, Mark would say, “Midge (my nickname), is this plane ever going to land?” So yes it is! This is a fantastic, surprising, most refreshing and light combination! Beets are always good with goat cheese and toasted walnuts, but this is a real treat to your palate.
Now you may think it’s a lot of work and time consuming. It does take time but you can divide it up. Roast your beets the night before while you’re making your dinner, peel them and store in the fridge. Also you can toast your pine nuts the night before too. Toast more pine nuts than you need and store in an airtight plastic container so you have them on hand to throw in a pasta dish, on other salads or on some haricot verts, Remember, the more you cook, the easier it is, because you’ll start to have things on hand – salad dressings, croutons, toasted nuts. All good things!
BEETS AND TANGERINES ON A BED OF ARUGULA
4 golden beets
1.5 tbs. pine nuts
3 tbs. olive oil
3-4 oz. of washed, dried and chilled arugula
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1.5 tbs. raspberry vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the washed, scrubbed and dried beets in large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1 tbs. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Draw up the aluminum foil to make a packet. Place the packet in a baking dish (they might leak) and roast for 60 – 70 minutes, until they are tender and easily pierced with a skewer. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut into sixths or eighths, or store whole in the refrigerator.
In a small non-stick skillet, over medium high heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring constantly until they are golden brown. Place in a small dish to cool.
Using a sharp knife, cut each end off of the tangerine so you have a flat bottom and top, then slice around the curve and cut off the remaining peel. Once the tangerine is peeled, over a medium bowl, slice in between the membranes to release the tangerine sections. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into a small bowl; you should have 1/4 cup.
In another small bowl, toss the sliced shallots and raspberry vinegar with a pinch of salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup of tangerine juice and whisk in the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil. Season the dressing with salt.
Place a handful of arugula on each plate. Arrange the beets and tangerine sections on plates and drizzle with the dressing. Top with the toasted pine nuts and serve.
If you have refrigerated the roasted beets overnight, bring to room temperature before using. Also, the tangerines are better at room temperature as well.