Swing by any market this month, and you’ll find a startling variety of colorful, Rubenesque – plump oranges at their peak; heavy with natural juices, and sweet enough for a healthy, satisfying dessert . Here in California, we’re lucky to have such a broad variety of oranges grown locally or nearby; so many kinds, in fact, that I feel guilty if I don’t take advantage of them. If you feel the same, this is a salad that is all about citrus, and is designed to showcase the best of the season. So, feel free to get adventurous: been wanting to try Cara-Cara Oranges, Tangelos or Temples? Grab them this month, and use them in this salad of winter sunshine.
For myself, I went with a combination of Blood Oranges and Satsumas. Generally believed to have originated in the southern Mediterranean, perhaps Italy (Sicily), Blood Oranges are pretty spectacular with their dramatic looks, and their sweet flavor. They’re can be gone from the markets by March, so pick up a couple the next time you see them. Blood oranges have a distinctly deep burgundy flesh, and produce a deep red juice, giving it its name. The O’Biolla website has some great additional information, if you’re interested.
The other type of citrus I used was a Satsuma Tangerine, a Japanese Mandarin-cross. Its thick, leathery skin, a tangerine trademark, is so easy to peel, it practically undresses itself. Similar to other mardarins, such as Clementines, it offers up a honey sweetness at its peak, balanced with a touch of tartness. Cooking Light has a good article on the Satsuma if you want to read more.
A Few Cooking Notes:
Once you roast the beets (which can be done ahead), this salad comes together in about 15 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight dish.
Using a rosemary flavored olive oil makes all the difference to this salad.
Winter Citrus Salad with with Maple-Orange Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 – 2 hours
Orange and Beet Salad
- 7 – 8 baby beets (2 bunches)
- Olive oil, salt, pepper and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 blood orange
- 1 Satsuma tangerine
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole oregano leaves
Maple – Orange Vinaigrette
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (Grade B)
- 1 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon rosemary olive oil
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Remove the tail and leafy stalk from the beets, rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt, and a couple twists of freshly ground pepper. Wrap in foil, along with a couple rosemary sprigs. Place in an oven-proof pan, and roast until tender. The length of time will be dependent on the size of the beets, but it may take a couple of hours. The beets can be roasted ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to use them.
Slice off the tops and bottoms of the oranges, and using a sharp knife, carefully slice away the skin and pith of the oranges so that only the fruit remains. Slice the oranges horizontally into 1/4″ or 1/2″ thick little slabs.
Peel the beets and slice.
Whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together, except the rosemary oil, until the salt is dissolved. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
Arrange the orange and tangerine slices on a plate. Sprinkle most of the minced rosemary over the slices. Place the beets around and over the oranges and sprinkle on the oregano leaves, and the remaining rosemary.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad.