Spring Salad of Arugula, Mint, Beets and Asparagus

Spring Salad of Arugula, Mint, Beets & Asparagus

with Orange Vinaigrette

1/2 lb. Beets, scrubbed & stemmed

Red wine or Balsamic vinegar, to taste

3/4 lb. Asparagus, tough ends trimmed

Orange Vinaigrette (below)

Several fresh mint leaves, torn or cut into a wide chiffonade

4 small handfuls arugula, stemmed

1/3 c. pistachios, toasted & coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the beets in a roasting pan and add a quarter inch of water. Cover the pan with foil and roast the beets in a pre-heated oven until they are tender all the way through—30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size and age of the beets. When the beets are cool enough to handle (although they should still be a bit warm), trim the roots and stems off and gently rub the skins off using a paper towel. Leave baby beets whole; cut medium-sized beets in wedges; dice large beets. Toss the beets with red wine or balsamic vinegar to taste. Set aside.

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. If the asparagus are very fat, peel the lower 2/3 of each stalk. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Pat dry and set aside. (If you are serving the salad right away, simply spread the drained asparagus on towels to cool slightly and steam dry.)

To serve the salad: Treating each separately, season the beets and asparagus with salt and pepper and dress with the vinaigrette. Arrange attractively on individual plates or a platter. Place the arugula and mint leaves in a bowl. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and season with salt & pepper. Gently toss to make sure all of the leaves are lightly dressed with the vinaigrette—add more vinaigrette as necessary. Arrange the dressed greens, on the plate(s) with the beets & asparagus. Sprinkle the toasted pistachios over all.

Garnish the salad with wedges of hard-cooked egg or egg salad toasts. Serves 4

Orange Vinaigrette

2 T. Sherry vinegar

2 T. White/Golden Balsamic vinegar

1 medium shallot, finely diced (3 to 4 T.)

Salt & Pepper

1 T. Dijon

Strained juice of 2 Valencia Oranges or Honeybell Tangerines (about 2/3 to 3/4 c.), slowly reduced until syrupy

3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil (or use a neutral oil, if you prefer)

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and shallots. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Let sit for a few minutes (to soften the shallots). Whisk in the mustard and reduced orange juice. Gradually whisk in the oil, adding it in a thin stream. Taste and correct the seasoning and the vinegar balance.

(Vinaigrette adapted from recipes in The New Making of a Cook by Madeleine Kamman and The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook by Michelle & Philip Wojtowicz et al)

Recipe by Paige at For Love of the Table

Brookside Market