October 19, 2010

Eat to the Beet: Fabulous Roasted Beet and Grapefruit Salad

Autumn's market bounty

It’s here – that time of year when the fresh produce of fall’s bounty slowly starts winding down and is replaced by sturdy root vegetables. Still, the market was full of colour this Saturday: brilliant sunshine taking the chill off of the October air; gerbera daisies still in abundance from Milan at Bizjak Farms, along with tables laden with apples; multi coloured beets and kale from Ann at Wooler Dale Farms.

We let the season guide us, a Sunday brunch in the offing. Those candy coloured beets were a must and with a new issue of LCBO’s Food & Drink on hand, featuring Ontario’s harvest and plenty of beet recipes, we were set for at least one star attraction on the menu.

Roasted Beet and Grapefruit Salad
adapted from Food & Drink magazine

serves 4

8 baby beets, multi-coloured, trimmed
¼ c water
Salt and pepper
3 small ruby red grapefruit
1 tbsp grapefruit zest
1 tsp honey
1 tsp grainy mustard
¼ c canola oil
6 c mixed salad greens
¼ c thinly sliced red onion
¼ c Marcona almonds
4 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled (we used Grappa soaked goat from Monforte)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Trim beet leaves to ¼ inch from beets, and trim off root end. Scrub beets well, and place in a baking dish with the water. Season with salt and pepper, cover with foil and roast until beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool, covered, until cool enough to handle. Trim stalk ends and peel off skins. (Peeled beets can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 2 days).

Trimmed beets, ready for roasting

The colours are still vivid after roasting

Don't worry - your fingers won't stay stained!

Nature's beautiful colours

3. While the beets are roasting, make the dressing. Finely grate 1 tbsp zest from a grapefruit. Squeeze half a grapefruit to yield 3 tbsp juice. Whisk together zest, juice, honey, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in oil. (Dressing can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours before serving. Whisk again before using).

4. Cut the beets into wedges and toss with 2 tbsp of dressing. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Cut the two remaining grapefruit into segments, removing pith. Grapefruit can also be prepped in advance, covered and refrigerated.

5. Just before serving, toss salad greens with half the remaining dressing. Top with beets, grapefruit, onion, almonds and cheese. Drizzle with remaining dressing, toss lightly, and serve.

An entertaining note: even for brunch, it's fun to start with an "appetiser".  Since ours was a savoury brunch for six, we started with yellow pepper sippers, a nifty way to serve this fabulous yellow pepper recipe.