The idea of a winter salad can be kind of a joke. It usually ends up being warm and heavy, with little to no raw vegetables- mainly cooked root vegetables tossed with lentils or other dull-colored vegetables with little texture and zip.
My new concoction of a Roasted Beet, Endive, & Grapefruit Salad, however, was a fresh and vibrant way to have salad in winter, utilizing seasonal ingredients but still managing to be light and quite healthy. It combines a riot of flavors: sweet, bitter, salty, tart, not to mention crunchy, creamy, and juicy textures. I had a lot of fun trying to plate it in an interesting way, one where the beet ends up on the plate first because they stain everything and, heaven forbid, you plate it last and something goes wrong and beet juices get everywhere!
I would recommend cooking the beets a day ahead, that way they have a chance to cool and be much easier to handle. Besides, the big ones also take about 2 hours to cook, so you really don't want to start roasting them when dinner's on the horizon.
Tell me what you think if you end up trying it, I was quite proud of my little creation!
Roasted Beet, Endive, & Grapefruit Salad
2 large beets, about 6-8 oz. each
4 Belgian endives
1 small grapefruit
1/4 cup crumbled sheep's milk feta cheese
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
- Roast beets: Trim any leaves but keep top and base intact. Place beets in a small pan with a half inch of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 400 F until a knife inserted into the beet slips in and out easily, about 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on the size of the beet. Wrap beet up in foil and let cool, or refrigerate until ready to use.
- Segment grapefruit: Trim the top and bottom off the grapefruit to create flat sides. With one flat side down on the cutting board, use large knife to cut away all the rind from grapefruit. Using a sharp thin knife, make cuts next to each side of the strips of pith (do this over a bowl to catch any dripping juice). Segments of grapefruit should come out, remove any seeds and any clinging pith. Squeeze the remaining center of the grapefruit to release any remaining juice. Cut grapefruit segments into bite-sized pieces and keep with juice. Taste grapefruit, and if too sour or bitter, add a pinch of sugar.
- Belgian endives: Rinse and cut thinly (to resemble cabbage in coleslaw). As you get closer to the base of the endives, the centers will be solid circles. Discard, or if you like, cut thinly. Place endive in a bowl and toss with 2 Tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit juice and a dash of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Peel and rinse off beets. Slice into 1/8-1/4" thick slices, depending on your preference (I used a mandoline).
- To plate: place slices of beet in an overlapping circle, about 5 circles per plate. Mound the cut endives in the center of the beets and top with pieces of grapefruit. Sprinkle feta cheese over the plate and drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil.