I love the way the blood oranges in this salad put them in their place. Like "you want to be intense and red and earthy? Fine, but I'm wearing the same dress, and showing my pulp". Booya.
All competition aside, the two compliment each other wonderfully well, and with walnuts and belgian endive for a balancing bitter accent, this salad is everything February isn't. Beautiful, varied, and good for lifting your spirits.
(note: my presentation makes this salad out to be a bit of a diva -- I sliced the beets and loved the shape of them fanned out, so I kind of ran with the fitting dramatic tentacle-like arrangement, but I think I'd like it just as well or better all tossed together and garnished with a handful of endive on top.)
Red and Golden Beets with Blood Orange, Endive, and Walnuts
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds red and golden beets
1/2 cup shelled walnuts
2 blood oranges
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
Zest of 1/2 orange
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 pound Belgian endive
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Trim and wash the beets and roast them, tightly covered with foil, with a splash of water. While the oven is on, put the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 5 minutes. With a sharp paring knife, trim off the top and bottom of each orange. Pare off the rest of the peel, making sure to remove all of the pith. Slice the oranges into 1/4-inch rounds.
Make a vinaigrette by mixing together the vinegar, orange juice (I used tangerine, since I had some on hand), and the zest (I omitted the zest and didn't miss it), finely chopped, and stirring in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and slice into rounds. Toss them gently with the vinaigrette, and arrange the beets on a plate with the orange slices and Belgian endive leaves. Drizzle over any vinaigrette remaining in the bowl, and garnish with the toasted walnuts.
(from Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables book)