Slow roasted beet salad with Blood Orange-Red Wine Vinaigrette

Talk about maximizing the season’s local bounty…this one’s for all my fellow beet lovers.

When I talk about good food, I’m talking about a recipe that involves only a select handful of ingredients, each of the highest quality, where the star of the dish is prepared in a way to highlight its natural flavors, then it is carefully paired with complementary flavors to create a harmonious symphony on the palate.

This is the dish. Focused. Vibrant. Fresh. Delightful.

The beets, slow roasted, extract the sweetness from the star of this dish. Tossed together with the sweet-citrusy-freshness of the blood oranges, the tanginess contributed by the red wine vinaigrette, the bite from the freshly grated garlic, and the clean-bright taste of Italian flat-leaf parsley, all lightly coated with a nutty extra virgin olive oil, then finally, all balanced perfectly with the perfect amount of quality sea salt. I’m telling you, it’s heaven on a plate. I can’t get enough of this dish. It’s a staple on Chez Suz’s menu.

I grew up eating this combination. You can take this a step further and further add skinned-wedges of oranges and garnish it with orange zest. Pom seeds go really well here too. Feel free to experiment. Whatever else you add, and however you garnish it, I hope you enjoy it this as much as I do!

This beet salad is great on it’s own. I particularly enjoy this as a side with hummus, tabboulé and toasted pita.

Techniques for this dish:

–          Roast the beets wrapped tightly in foil. For goodness sake, do not boil them. Roasting them dry, tightly wrapped, will seal in the juices and extract the sweetness from these beauties.

–          Use Italian flat-leaf parsley (as you should always do). The curly ones look like fake garnishes and tickle my through when I eat them. The former is far better tasting, besides.

–          De-germ the garlic (as you should always do). Removing the germ will prevent that “garlicky” reminder after you enjoy the dish.

–          Buy organic blood oranges. It does make a difference.

–          Use good quality red wine vinegar. Not too flat, not too “vinegary”

–          Use good quality evoo. The more authentic, the better.

–          Perfect using salt or any seasoning, a point (to the point of perfection). Salt is the most important spice in your cupboard and is meant to be used just enough to help bring all the flavors together. Any more, the dish will be salty, any less, the dish be flat.

–          Salads of this type always taste better when allowed to rest for a few hours, or overnight. Practice the art of project management, plan ahead, and I promise you’ll enjoy the results.

Slow roasted beet salad with blood orange-red wine vinaigrette

5 beets (mixed red (tangier), orange/yellow (sweet but milder), wrapped tightly in foil, roasted on 425F for 1 hour, rest for 30 minutes, and skin removed, sliced

¼ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)

Juice of 1 organic blood orange

2 tbsp red wine vinegar, or more to taste

Splash of evoo

Sea salt, to taste

Toss all ingredients together, adjust seasoning as needed, then enjoy it as a main or a side accompanied by a nice dry Provençale rosé wine!

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