beet and grapefruit salad

Grapefruit and Beet Salad

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beet and grapefruit salad
A light dinner!

We were thinking of something a bit lighter for dinner. Not quite as light as a simple salad — more filling than that — just something that would leave us satiated, but not overfull. Of course, the first thing we do is to look around in the refrigerator (in reality, we think about what’s in the refrigerator rather than opening the fridge door — one of us has had too many childhood admonitions about wasting energy by letting out the cold air) to see what is available. This week, it was beets, grapefruit, and arugula. Perfect.

Often this type of salad includes fresh goat cheese, but, since goat cheese shares don’t start at the CSA until next month, we went without. Of course, if you, fellow scratcher, happen to have some on hand, it would be a great addition to your salad.

Grapefruit and Beet Salad

Yield: 2 servings

Grapefruit and Beet Salad

Ingredients

    For the salad
  • 2 medium beets
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 grapefruits
  • 1/2 cup small arugula leaves
  • 2-4 Tbs candied walnuts
  • For the dressing
  • Juice from segmenting grapefruits
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Large pinch kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wash and trim beets, place on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and rub until coated. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Close foil around the beets and place on a baking sheet.

Bake until tender, about 60 minutes.

Remove from oven, and, when cool enough to handle, rub off beet skins and discard. Place beets in the refrigerator to chill completely.

Segment grapefruit over a bowl to catch juices. Squeeze out juice from the remaining grapefruit core. Set aside.

Assemble salad by laying down a bed of arugula, followed by grapefruit segments and slices of beets. Top with candied walnuts.

For dressing

Whisk together remaining juice, honey, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over salad.

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Ingredient discussion:

This salad would look best with several colors or types of beets: deep, dark red — perhaps a Bull’s blood beet, bright yellow, and maybe a Chioggia beet for those lovely rings inside. If you have several types of beet, roast them in separate foil packets to prevent the red beets from leaking into the lighter shades. We only had dark red beets (we think they were Bull’s blood, but we’re not sure) so that’s what we used. The arugula is there for a peppery contrast to the sweet beets and the tang of grapefruit, but a slightly bitter leaf lettuce would work just as well. For a little crunch and sweetness, we made candied walnuts while the beets were roasting. Why not do dual duty?

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Well, beets aren’t too particular about the temperature at which they roast. We chose 350°F because we were making the candied walnuts at the same time. We could have easily set the oven anywhere between 300 and 425°F and the beets would have been fine.

roasting beets
Roasting beets in foil is the easiest and best way to prepare them for all kinds of recipes.

Season beets. Once the beets are scrubbed and the tops and roots trimmed back, place them on a large piece of foil and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Use your hand to rub in the oil so each beet is coated. Follow up with a generous pinch of kosher salt.

Roast beets. Wrap up the foil into a packet that will seal in the moisture, place the packet on a baking sheet — the foil can leak — and bake until the beets feel tender, about 60 minutes. Remove and let stand until cool enough to handle.

peeled beets
Once roasted, the skins just seem to slip right off. If needed, give them a quick rinse while you peel the beets.

Peel beets. The skins should just slip right off. This is the best way we know to peel beets. The skins are too tough before cooking, and simmering them in water doesn’t work as well, but roasting makes it easy to pick up a beet and use your fingers to rub the skin right off.

Chill. Place the beets in the refrigerator to chill completely.

segenting a grapefruit
Segmenting citrus fruit requires three steps. First, cut off the top and bottom.
segementing a grapefruit
Second step is to cut away the peel all the way down to the fruit.
segement a grapefruit
Finally, just use your knife to cut out the segments. Done!

Segment grapefruit. Years ago, we would try peeling grapefruit (or oranges) to get the segments for salad. While we still do this for some citrus, notably tangerines, we now use a chef’s knife to make quick work of segmenting a grapefruit. Follow along, remembering to segment over a bowl to catch the excess grapefruit juice. First, slice off the top and bottom of the grapefruit. Stand it on one of the sliced ends for stability, and cut off the peel from top to bottom. Now, simply pick up the grapefruit, and, while holding it over a bowl, cut out each segment in turn. Finally, squeeze out any juice from the remaining core; we need that juice for the salad dressing.

beet and grapefruit salad
The red from beets will get everywhere, so take the time to arrange the salad, rather than just tossing it together. It’ll look nicer, which means you’ll like it more.

Assemble salad. While you could toss the arugula, beet slices, and grapefruit all together, we don’t recommend it, because the beets will color everything red. Instead, nicely layer the arugula in the bowl, followed by grapefruit segments and beet slices. Sprinkle those candied walnuts around the top for interest. All we need now is to make up a quick and easy dressing.

making grapefruit dressing
Just add the dressing ingredients to the juice and give everything a whisking to combine. There, dressing’s done.

Make dressing. You’ll have grapefruit juice left in the bowl, so just add the honey, mustard (which helps the oil mix with the juice to form an emulsion), oil, salt, and pepper and give it all a quick whisking. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

Now, if you’re just planning to make a salad, this one is a lot of trouble — especially the roasting and peeling of the beets, then chilling — and it’ll take several hours from start to finish. But, if you’re roasting beets anyway (it really is the easiest and best way to get beets ready for a lot of dishes), set aside a few for this refreshing salad. Then all you need to do is segment a grapefruit or two, add some greens, and you have a salad that, if it’s a large salad, will easily fit the bill for a light dinner. That’s what we did. Four stars.

Worth the trouble?

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