Life is sweet again in my head, and in celebration of dark clouds passing here is a recipe.
Beets and raspberries are in my farmer’s markets right now, and this makes good use of them. I’ll include a crappy iphone photo of it, but as you can see I can’t plate my meals, so please know that if I could have I would have plated and garnished it all prettily with a smattering of herbs and a tumble of raspberries. Here it is garnished with purple basil, which nicely continues the purple/pink color scheme.
Buy, barter, or grow enough beets for as much salad as you want to make. It is my belief that white beets, which you sometimes see in farmer’s markets, are an abomination. Some farmers say they are sweeter, but for me beets are all about color and thus white beets can go suck an egg. And beets are plenty sweet enough already, aren’t they?
Wash them well, then place on a deep baking sheet. Add water to come halfway up the beets. Cover the pan with foil and bake in a 350°F oven until tender, from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on the age and size of your beets. Keep in mind that smaller beets will cook faster, so remove them as they are finished if necessary.
Make the orange vinaigrette (below) while the beets are cooking.
As soon as the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off their skins. (Don’t rinse the beets under water to loosen the skins, as you will wash away all the flavor)
Cut beets into bite-size chunks.
Make orange vinaigrette
Blend three parts olive oil with one part white wine, Champagne, or vermouth vinegar, one part orange juice, a dash of orange oil (optional – I use Boyajian brand), and orange zest (zest of one orange if you used the juice of one orange, zest of two oranges if you used two, etc.). Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.
Toss beets with vinaigrette while they are still hot. Let cool.
When the salad is completely cool, gently toss with raspberries – as a general guideline, use about one cup of raspberries per two pounds of beets. Or double that. Or use half that. It will still be good.
You could also serve the salad on a bed of tender mixed lettuces. To make this salad extra nice, add some sliced avocado and/or freshly snipped herbs from your garden: feathery dill, young sweet parsley, purple or lemon basil, ethereal chervil – any dainty herbs would be welcomed. I grow a bronze fennel that is prized for its lacy top (I don’t even think it makes a bulb), and that would be great too. I haven’t tried it, but I have a feeling that slices of mango would be nice also. I’ll stop there.