We're having a heatwave here in Boston! Temperatures are supposed to be hitting the 50s... in the middle of February! I can't imagine a better reward after being pummeled by snowstorm after snowstorm. I'm looking forward to seeing all the snow melt away. (Clearly, I shouldn't be living in New England.) While I bask in the midwinter warmth, I'm already dreaming of summer. Summer makes me think of bright salads chock-full of ripe tomatoes in a rainbow of colors. To tide me over, I decided to make another colorful salad, one better suited to the currently available produce.
This salad contains some of my favorite things: Cara Cara oranges, feta cheese, and roasted beets. You can use any oranges you like, really, but I love Cara Cara oranges and look forward to them every winter (at least I have one wintry thing to look forward to). They are pinkish-orange inside and taste sweet and tangy at the same time.
The salty feta really adds a bit of punch to the salad.
And the roasted beets add not only flavor but also some vibrant colors. People tend to have strong opinions about beets, but I love them -- golden more than red, and I decided to make some of both.
The oranges, feta, and beets along with spinach, grapefruit, and a citrusy vinaigrette ensure a flavorful salad packed with Vitamin C and fiber.
Winter Salad With Oranges, Grapefruit, Beets, And Feta (adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2011)
5 golden and/or red beets, tops and bottoms trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
5- or 6-ounce package baby spinach
2 pink or ruby grapefruits, segmented
2 Cara Cara oranges, segmented
4 ounces crumbled feta
Roast the beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place each beet on a piece of foil. Rub the beets with the tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Close up the foil, and place the packages directly on the oven rack. Roast for about 60 minutes, or until tender.
Open foil, and allow beets to cool. Using a paper towel, rub the skin off the beets.
Cut each beet into 8 wedges.
Make the vinaigrette: Whisk vinegar, mustard, zests, and honey in a small bowl or carafe. Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Assemble the salad (the Bon Appetit way): Place spinach in a large bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Divide the spinach among four plates. Place beets and citrus segments in large bowl, add 2 more tablespoons of the vinaigrette, and toss. Arrange the beets and citrus segments on top of the spinach. Sprinkle with feta. Serve with extra vinaigrette.
Assemble the salad (the Delicious Dishings way): Place a handful of spinach in the bottom of a container with a lid, top with one-fourth of the beet wedges and citrus segments. Close the container. Pour some of the vinaigrette into a portable dressing container, and place some feta in a sandwich baggie. Put all of this in a bag, and bring it to work for lunch. Add the feta and vinaigrette to the salad, cover the container, shake, uncover, and eat! Repeat for the next three lunches.
What are your favorite ingredients for a winter salad?