Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blood Orange, Beet and Chevre Salad

Don't get me wrong, I like flowers and hearts and candy, but when it comes to Valentine's Day I tend to subscribe to the darker side. I once celebrated Valentine's Day by hosting a 3-D screening of My Bloody Valentine. Regardless, I wanted to create a recipe that’s not overly sentimental, but still romantic.   

Most girls will gladly accept cheese in lieu of flowers. Pure Luck Chevre is such a rich and versatile goat cheese, it would be a shame not to have some on hand this Valentine’s Day. Plus, crumbled Chevre is fantastic in salads. If you’re flying solo this year, there is absolutely no shame in enjoying this salad with a big bad grilled cheese and a romantic comedy. I’m not speaking from experience or anything.

* Serves 2

2 small red beets, tops trimmed, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 small fennel bulb, stalks removed and quartered
1 generous pinch dried thyme
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
4 oz Pure Luck Chevre, crumbled
Mixed greens (such as swiss chard, arugula, tat soi and baby spinach)
1 blood orange
1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed
1/2 fresh lime squeezed
Extra-virgin olive
Balsamic vinegar
White wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper and coarse sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup loosely packed, fresh cilantro leaves

For beets and fennel: Preheat oven to 400. Wash and prepare beets and fennel as directed above. Place in a bowl, add enough olive oil and balsamic to lightly cover, add thyme, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 35 – 45 minutes or until beets are tender when pierced with a fork.

While beets and fennel are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. To peel the orange. use a serrated knife to cut the top and bottom of the peel off first. Then cut all peel and pith from the sides so only the flesh remains. Do not discard peels. Slice blood orange into 4 rounds and set aside. Thinly slice red onion and set aside.

For vinaigrette: squeeze lemon and lime halves into a medium bowl, remove any seeds. Use a few peels from your blood orange that have a bit of flesh and squeeze into the bowl with juice. Add to citrus mix: 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar, salt and pepper and torn cilantro leaves. Whisk to combine. Add or decrease ingredients to suit your taste, I just eye ball and sample as I whisk.

Wash mixed greens and place a generous handful or two in each bowl. Add warm beets and fennel, red onion slices and desired amount of vinaigrette; toss to coat. Top with crumbled chevre and two orange slices per serving. Serve immediately.

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