Are you longing for a fresh, nutritious salad in the dead of winter? I love this Fennel, Beet, Blood Orange & Kalamata Olive Salad.
It's flavorful and different; takes you out of the same old lettuce, tomato and carrot routine.
This salad would go great with a hearty beef stew or roast chicken or pasta — just about anything, really.
You can add lettuce to this salad, or serve it without. I like red onions but if you don't like them, you can omit them.
Fennel, Beet, Blood Orange & Kalamata Olive Salad
Beets, organic if possible (2 bunches)
Blood oranges, organic if possible — if you can’t find blood oranges, use satsuma mandarins or regular oranges (6)
Champagne or sherry vinegar (2 TBS)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper — where to buy sea salt; where to buy black pepper
Small jar Kalamata olives, pitted (1)
Fennel, organic if possible, if you can’t find fennel, use a head of lettuce (1 bunch)
Red onion, organic if possible (1/2)
Optional: Shallot (1)
Optional: Lettuce, organic if possible (1 head)
1. Set the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut off the beet greens, leaving at least 2 inches of the stems on, and leaving the root intact. (Stick the beet greens in the vegetable crisper for future use — they are delicious sauteed in bacon fat, lard, butter or duck fat).
3. Rinse the beets, scrubbing with a vegetable brush. Be sure to rinse between the stems. Pat dry or set aside to drip dry.
4. When the beets are dry, place them in a casserole dish or Dutch oven. Cover with foil and roast for one hour and 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
5. Remove beets from oven and let cool on a cutting board or plate.
6. Make the dressing: Juice 2 of the blood oranges and pour into a small mixing bowl. Mince the (optional) shallot and add to bowl, along with 2 tablespoons Champagne or sherry vinegar. Slowly whisk in 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, pouring in a slow stream as you whisk. Taste as you go, using more or less olive oil depending on the size of your oranges (for small blood oranges, use 1/4 cup olive oil; for large navel oranges, use up to 1/2 cup). Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
7. When beets are cool, cut off the stems and the root and discard, then peel the beets. Make sure to wear rubber gloves when peeling so you don’t end up with bright red hands stained with beet juice. (If you do stain your hands, use fresh lemon juice and/or make a paste of salt and water to remove the stains.)
8. Quarter the peeled beets and set aside.
9. Drain the jar of olives and slice the olives in half. Set aside.
10. Cut the remaining 4 oranges into small bite-sized pieces, discarding the peels. Set aside.
11. Rinse and dry the fennel (or lettuce). If using fennel, cut off the stalks close to the bulb — discard stalks.
12. Slice the red onion thinly. Slice the fennel bulb crosswise as thinly as possible (ideally use a mandoline) making “C” shapes. If using lettuce, tear it into large bite sized pieces. Set aside.
13. Make a bed of fennel (or lettuce). Layer orange and beet pieces, olive halves, and red onion (to taste) on top.
14. Whisk the dressing again, drizzle on top and serve.
Photo Credit: Nick Saltmarsh, on Flickr