The day after Christmas, many people are pulling down the decorations and tidying up the house, maybe a little drained from the festivities and all of the hoopla. Days like today are perfect for planning the arrival of 2012 and all of the wonderful times ahead. If incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet is on your list of goals for the New Year, start with oranges! They’re in season in the winter months, and add a little bit of sunshine, even on the cloudy Michigan winter days!
There are several varieties of oranges, and many ways to enjoy them in recipes, or simply by themselves. Typically, recipes call for Cara Cara, Blood, or Navel oranges, but you can always interchange them to suit your tastes. Adding oranges to a salad is a great way to add a bit of sweetness as well as a tart tang. This recipe can be served as a side or as a salad. I love the bright jewel-toned colors that the beets and oranges add, and the flavors are fabulous!
Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges & Fennel
4 medium beets (about 6 ounces each)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 fennel bulb—halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly oil or spray a half sheet pan or cookie sheet. Place the beets on the pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 1 hour, or until tender. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and slice them 1/4 inch thick.
Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all the bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the orange sections. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl.
In a small saucepan, simmer 1/4 cup of the orange juice over moderate heat until reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 5 minutes. Pour the reduced orange juice into a bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the fennel and parsley and toss well.
In another medium bowl, toss the beets with the orange juice vinaigrette. Arrange the sliced beets on plates and mound the fennel salad on top. Arrange the oranges around the beets and serve.