“Samuel took a big swallow and tilted his head back. I see what you mean. That is good. Here are some sandwiches, pickles, cheese and a can of buttermilk.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Pickled vegetables can add an immense boost of flavor to salads. This is an idea worth exploring. More flavor without more calories is always worth the time. I tried the “Use a Spoon” Chopped Salad from Paul Newman’s restaurant, The Dressing Room, in Food 52’s Genius Recipes. My favorite part of the salad was the pickled carrots, celery and bell pepper. I wanted more. Quick picking beets turned out fabulously.
It is just as easy to cook and pickle two bunches of beets as it is to prepare one batch. By making a double batch of the beets there were plenty for this salad, and more to use during the week for another salad. The leftover vinegar can be used to make a bright red vinaigrette. All this multi use, cooking for the week ahead, is just the timesaving I crave. Homemade, healthy and with immense flavor, a winning kitchen strategy for the always busy cook.
There are countless recipes for this beet and an orange salad. It is versatile, use feta instead of goat cheese, pecans instead of pistachios, basil or cilantro instead of tarragon, use any type of salad greens. If the beets aren’t pickled add tangy green olives and a favorite vinaigrette. For a visually pleasing salad use beet and orange slices that are the about the same size. The beets and oranges can be prepared ahead of time and kept chilled until composing the salad.
|Quick Pickled Beets and Orange Salad|
|1-1/2C||white wine vinegar|
|4C||salad greens, arugula and spinach are nice|
|1/4C||goat cheese crumbles|
|2T||fruity olive oil|
|1T||fresh tarragon, minced|
- Trim and scrub the beets. Place them in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer until just done. When a knife tip easily pierces the root end of the beet they are cooked. Place them in a colander to drain. Cooking time depends on the size and freshness of the beets, small beets 20 minutes, large beets 40 minutes. Don’t overcook the beets, they will soften just a bit more in the hot brine. As soon as the beets can be handled, peel them and slice crosswise into rounds. The thickness of the slices should be about the same as the orange slices.
- While the beets cool, bring the wine vinegar and sugar a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Simmer just until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the beet slices. Gently move the beet slices around so that they are all coated with the hot brine. Set them aside to cool while preparing the rest of the salad. Let steep twenty minutes, then drain. The leftover vinegar can be used to make vinaigrette. The beets can be prepared ahead of time and kept chilled until composing the salad.
- Scatter the salad greens across a serving platter. Trim the rind and pith from the oranges, slice crosswise, into rounds. Alternate slices of beet and orange down the length of the serving platter. Scatter the goat cheese crumbles across the top of the beet and orange slices. Then sprinkle on the pistachios. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs.
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