Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beet, Jicama and Watercress Salad

The key to this vibrant salad is presentation. If you toss it all together, the beets will stain everything else - especially the white jicama - a watery pink (see photo at end of this post). A carefully plated arrangement, however, will be terrific in terms of both taste and appearance.

  • 2 and 1/2 pounds beets, with tops (about 7 beets)
  • 5 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) diced and peeled jicama
  • 1/3 cup tangerine sections
  • 2 cups trimmed watercress
1. Trim the beets, leaving 1-inch of the roots and stems on each.  Scrub with a brush, and then wrap each beet in aluminum foil.  Place the beets on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, until tender.

Note: Leaving this bit of root and stem actually helps prevent too much color bleeding from the beets during cooking.

2. Let the beets cool (for about 30 minutes), then trim off the remaining roots and stems and rub off the skins. It's best to do so under cool running water, to avoid a big pink-stained mess on your kitchen counter. Cut the beets into 1/2-inch thick slices, and cut each slice into quarters.

3. Combine the beets in a bowl with 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper with the red onion and orange juice.  Let stand for 30 minutes. 

5. Stir the jicama and tangerine sections into the orange juice mixture.

6. Arrange 1/2 cup watercress on each of 4 plates.  Mound 3/4 cup beet mixture in the center of each plate, and arrange 3/4 cup jicama mixture around the beets.  The dish is best served immediately, at this point, before everything turns pink.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1/2 cup watercress, 3/4 cup beet mixture, 3/4 cup jicama mixture), Calories 147 

Tasting Notes:
Super healthy, fresh, and filling - I felt almost virtuous eating it. The presentation really is the main event here - though of course, if you want to mix it all together once you start eating, as pictured at right, feel free. In terms of taste, the salad is good though not extraordinary; the beets were roasted to tender perfection, and paired well with peppery watercress, crisp jicama, and the occasional burst of citrus. To amp it up, I would definitely add more tangerine slices, use a good bit more dressing (with more olive oil in it), and sprinkle toasted chopped nuts on top for a bit of contrast. But bonus points for being so elegant.


1 comment:

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