Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus-Tarragon Dressing

Michael Chiarello is a Food Network chef with an Italian/California style. We haven't had him on Food Network Canada for years, but when we did I quite enjoyed his cooking. For this week's Food Network Chefs Cooking Challenge, I made a Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus-Tarragon Dressing from his book Flavored Oils and Vinegars. I quite like this little book, especially in the summer when fresh herbs abound. But winter is good for beets and citrus and this made for a delicious side salad.
Speaking of beets - a few of my closest blogging pals were die-hard beet haters when I met them, they are starting to come around though. I like to think I had something to do with it. The ambassador of beets. That's me!

Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus-Tarragon Dressing
adapted from Michael Chiarello, Flavored Oils and Vinegars

8 medium beets, about 2 lbs, washed
Olive oil, for coating beets
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh tarragon or 2 tsp dried
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup citrus olive oil* below
5 cups loosely packed baby spinach, arugula, or salad greens

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use your hands to coat beets in olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast until knife tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel beets and cut into small wedges. Place in a serving bowl or nonmetallic mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, tarragon, honey, and citrus oil. Pour over beets and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let rest at least 10 minutes to allow beets to soak up flavour. Pour off some of the dressing into another bowl and toss with greeens or tomatoes. Divide greens among 4 plates and top with beets.

Citrus Flavoured Oil

2 medium oranges, or 3 lemons, Meyer lemons or limes, cut in 8ths
1 cup olive oil

Roughly chop the fruit-skin, seeds, and all- in a food processor with short pulses or use a chef's knife. Do not process to a purée. If the fruit is too finely chopped, the oil will emulsify with the pulp and not separate. Transfer the fruit to the work bowl of an electric mixer and add the oil. Mix on low speed 10 minutes with the paddle attachment. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours.
Rinse 4 layers of cheesecloth in cold water and squeeze dry. Suspend a fine-mesh strainer over a fat separator of bowl. Put the cutrus mixture in the cheesecloth and squeeze to extract the oil. (As you squeeze, the web of cheesecloth loosens. The strainer will catch the bits of pulp which may escape) Let stand again to allow oil and juice to separate. The clear oil will float about the thick mixture of juice, pulp, and some emulsified oil. Pour off oil into a sterilized glass jar of bottle and discard juice (or use it for something else). Cover tightly, refrigerate, and use within 1 week.