Serves 6 as an appetizer
6 small to medium beets
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil + a few tablespoons for roasting the beets
6 large tangerines, minneolas, red grapefruit or other seasonal sweet citrus
¼ of a small red onion, finely slivered
2 tablespoons orange muscat vinegar
a few drops rose water, optional
a handful of basil, de-stemmed and finely sliced in a chiffonade
3 tablespoons fresh chevre, crumbled, optional
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Chill a serving platter or individual salad plates.
Wash the beets and toss while damp with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Wrap each in a piece of aluminum foil and place in a roasting pan. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until tender throughout – you can slip your knife into one to test that it’s cooked through. When they are just done, carefully take out of the foil and allow to cool. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, rub each gently to remove the peel. Yay, red fingers! Cut each into pretty wedges.
Suprême the citrus! What’s a suprême? It’s a lovely segment of citrus, without any pith or membrane (you know someone really loves you when they suprême your citrus). With your chef knife, slice the top and bottom ends from the fruit. Then stand the fruit up on one of the cut ends and follow the curve of the fruit with your knife, cutting away the peel, white pith and membrane. Work your way around until the fruit is clean of membrane. Reserve the cut away skins and squeeze any juice you can from them into a bowl. Hold each fruit over the bowl and carefully slice between the membranes to cut away just the fruit segments in between, letting the juice drip into the bowl and setting the supreme fruit aside. Strain the juice and set aside.
Toss the red onion, vinegar, a ¼ cup of the citrus juice and a dash of sea salt in a bowl. Whisk in olive oil and 2-3 drops of rose water – this is strong and a little goes a long way so make sure to taste as you go! Whisk until well combined and the mixture holds together in a nice emulsion – if it’s giving you a hard time, transfer to a jar and shake it up. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning until you love it.
Toss the beets in a bowl with half the vinaigrette and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.
Arrange half the dressed beets on your chilled platter or salad plates, sprinkle with basil and fill in spaces with half the citrus segments. Follow with another layer of the remaining beets, basil, and citrus segments, and then dot with crumbled chevre. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of remaining dressing, a few drops of rose water, a flurry of Maldon and a few fresh cracks of black pepper over your gorgeous salad and serve to your beloveds!