Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Caramelized Beet & Grapefruit Salad

FYI, the salad in the post below this I have discovered is even better with kale instead of spinach!

More to the point, the following recipe was inspired by a challenge from my land-lady to make a better beet salad than she had at a restaurant recently, a disappointing beet salad at an upscale restaurant I went to recently, the presence of a beet and grapefruit in my refrigerator drawer that needed to go, and the principles of salad making I learned from my chef instructor at school. I must say this salad met and exceeded my expectations!

For the Dressing:
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/3 c. salad oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and dijon mustard just until combined. Slowly drizzle in oil while whisking vigorously to form an emulsion. If dressing becomes too thick at any point, at a little water. Mixture should look creamy and homogenous, and be easily pourable. When all the oil is incorporated, season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until needed. 

For the Salad:
  • 2 large handfuls baby arugula, washed and dried thoroughly
  • 1 T. clarified butter
  • 1 small beet, sliced into six 1/4" discs
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 8 red onion rings
  • 1/2 c. pecan halves, lightly toasted
  • 2 oz. (weight) goat cheese, crumbled

Meanwhile, heat butter in a sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, but not hot enough to smoke. Place beets in a single layer in the pan (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of the pan) and caramelize on both sides; cook until a dark brown crust begins to form and repeat on the second side. While beets are cooking, suprême the grapefruit. Slice a small portion off the top and bottom so it will sit flat on a cutting board. Following the contours of the fruit, cut the entire peel off using a chef's knife. Then, using a paring knife, cut between the membranes to remove each section of grapefruit. Remove any seeds if necessary.

Remove the dressing from the refrigerator and whisk to re-emulsify if necessary. Add arugula to the bowl with the dressing and gently toss to coat. Place a handful on each of two large plates. Arrange the beets, grapefruit suprêmes, and onion rings around and atop each salad. Sprinkle on the goat cheese and pecans. Serve as is for a side salad, or add strips of seared chicken breast for a main dish. Enjoy!

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