Blood Orange and Golden Beet Salad

It has been raining here in Nashville for about a week straight. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good excuse to put on my Hunter's now and then but a week of rain? Ugh, no thanks. So you can imagine my (and the entire city of Nashville's) excitement when the sun came out yesterday! Finally, my pale Irish skin could soak up some Vitamin D...and instantly get a sunburn but nevertheless, I was pretty pumped about that sunshine. In fact, Ryan and I were so excited that we came up with the brilliant idea to clean out and organize our garage.  Now mind you, this brilliant idea popped into our brains around 1pm, which is an important factoid to remember as I provide a short summary of the contents of our garage:

  1. Wedding gifts and decor that are still in the original boxes because we lack cabinet and storage space indoors
  2. Furniture from Ryan's apartment in Auburn that we haven't used since we got married but for some reason, have packed up and moved twice (now on Craigslist if you're interested)
  3. Camping gear
  4. Gardening supplies
  5. Curtains - I feel like this needs its own place on the list because we seem to have an unusual supply 
  6. Holiday decorations 
  7. And SO MANY books...apparently we are very well read people. Or we're just book hoarders.

So anyhoo, around 1pm we decided that our garage needed a good spring cleaning and in our upbeat sunny day spirits thought, "this probably won't take that long." Ha, fools we were. I'm sure the many people that walked by our house yesterday thought we had just moved in. It was slightly embarrassing. I'm happy to report, however, that after several hours of sorting and organizing, our garage is now very neat and tidy. 

After a long day's work, I felt we needed to reward ourselves with a good meal and turned to Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food II. I absolutely adore this cookbook in which Alice Water's preaches the gospel of creating simple meals that revolve around fresh ingredients. Based on the ingredients I had in my kitchen, I decided to test out her Blood Orange and Golden Beet Salad with Fried Rosemary. It did not disappoint, and added bonus, it looks beautiful on a plate! 

Blood Orange and Golden Beet Salad with Fried Rosemary
Adapted from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food II (makes 4 servings)

8 small or 4 medium golden beets
4 small or 3 medium Moro blood oranges
3 tsp red wine vinegar
Fresh greens 
Good olive oil (for drizzling)
4 tsp fresh rosemary, leaves removed from sprigs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim the tops off of the beets and wash them. Place them in a baking dish that just holds them comfortably and pour water to cover the bottom of the dish to a depth of 1/8 inch. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a large pinch of fennel seeds (fennel seeds optional). Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the beets are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Let the beets cool, then peel. Slice the beets into ¼ inch rounds or wedges. Sprinkle with 2 tsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp olive oil and pinch of salt. Set beets aside to absorb the flavors.

While the beets are resting, remove the peel and membrane from the oranges. Thinly slice 2 or 3 of the oranges for the salad. Set aside. Cut the remaining orange in half and squeeze 1 tbsp of the juice into a small bowl. Add 1 tsp of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in 1 ½ tbsp of olive oil. Taste for salt and add more as needed. 

To make the fried rosemary, heat a small pan over medium-high heat. Pour in about ½ in olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the rosemary leaves. Let them fry for one minute and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon before they turn brown. Drain them on a paper towel. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and tiny pinch of cayenne pepper if you so desire. 

Arrange the greens, beets, and orange slices on a plate. Sprinkle with fried rosemary and drizzle with dressing.