Beet and Beet Green Salad with Orange and Mint
Choose small beets with their greens attached for this spring salad that tips toward summer with its hints of citrus and refreshing mint. Nuts and cheese are optional; try leaving them off and serve this as a side dish with grilled meat or fish.
- 2 pounds baby beets with greens washed well
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
- 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 6 ounces crumbled cheese chevre or feta works well
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pistachios toast for extra crunch
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Heat oven to 375ºF. Cut the greens from the beets, then place the beets in a small roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and cover it tightly with foil. Bake until beets are tender (about 45 minutes). When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and slice into wedges.
If the greens are young and tender, rough chop them and add them raw to the salad. If they are tipping toward tough, blanch them briefly: In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook until greens are bright green and just tender (2-3 minutes). Drop them in ice water to stop the cooking process, then drain and lightly squeeze to remove excess water. Coarsely chop them and continue with the recipe.
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, citrus juice, and both zests. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced beets, chopped greens, and fresh mint leaves. Mix well and transfer to serving plate. Top with crumbled cheese and nuts, if using.