Roasted Beet, Kumquat and Wilted Beet Greens Salad With Garlic-Honey Vinaigrette

by Lori on April 29, 2011

I’m beginning to notice that beets are featured quite often around here.  It’s not intentional, but I do eat a lot of beets and usually pick up a couple of bunches each week at the farmers market.  I prefer to oven roast them – stems and leaves removed, lightly rubbed with olive oil and wrapped in foil – just until a knife easily pierces them.  The gentle push of my thumb against the cooled skins lets them easily slide off to reveal the burgundy-red interior, and my stained fingertips are back to normal with a few hand washes.  No big deal.  It’s become a weekly ritual.  Most often, the roasted beets find their way into salads or side dishes and any remnants sit, briefly, in the refrigerator before becoming a snack for yours truly.

A few months back, I featured a recipe for Hasselback-style roasted beets with orange and shallot sauce.  It’s a combination I find myself drawn to again and again.  But recently, I found that beets and kumquats are even better.  I discovered this when my friend from Ojai brought me nearly 2 pounds of kumquats and I started putting them to use in as many ways as possible.  She introduced me to sliced kumquats in my vinaigrette-dressed green salads last summer.  If you have never done this, you must.  It is and unexpected delight and it became the inspiration for this salad.

Kumquats, with their tart flesh and sweet, intensely orange-flavored skins are in season right now.  There is something unmistakably right about eating fruits and vegetables in season.  Their flavors are unsurpassed, the price is usually at its lowest and there is a natural rhythm that seems to lure the food and the cook together at that moment in time. This is something I have come to appreciate and it has become the essence of my cooking.

I chose to utilize the all-too-often discarded beet greens as the base for this salad.  It surprises me when the vendors who run one of the stands at my farmers market ask me if I’d like the beet greens trimmed; what a waste.  The greens are delicious raw or cooked, and I often give them a quick chop and add to them to salads or briefly saute them.  In this instance, I wilted them by quickly adding the roughly chopped greens to a pot of boiling, salted water.  They were removed almost as quickly as they were added and immediately plunged into a bowl of icy water. If you have beets growing in your garden, save the smaller seedlings when you thin them (to give the bigger seedlings room to expand).  The younger, more tender greens – stems and all – can be used without having to go through the blanching process.

This salad is the epitome of fresh, honest cooking, and I use the term cooking very loosely here.  When simple in-season ingredients are simply prepared, the food can essentially be what it is and taste as pure as its own given flavor.  A skill set really isn’t a requirement; nature takes care of that for you.  It’s the harmony that exists between the ingredients, the cook and the time of year that make a salad like this so easy to pull off.

Roasted Beet, Kumquat and Wilted Beet Greens Salad With Garlic-Honey Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 2 main dish salads

Loaded with good-for-you vitamins and minerals, beet greens can be added to any salad or they can be the star of their own.

Ingredients

    For the salad:
  • 4 medium beets with stems and greens attached, greens rinsed well and coarsely chopped
  • 6-8 kumquats, stemmed, sliced and seeded
  • 1/3 cup purple onion, sliced thinly
  • Flaked sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • scant 1/3 cup champagne or red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon honey, or to taste

Instructions

  1. To roast the beets, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Trim stems from beets and set aside. Set each beet on a piece of foil, rub a small amount of olive oil onto each beet, wrap in foil, place onto a baking sheet and put in oven for 60 to 90 minutes, depending on size. Beets are done when a knife can easily pierce without resistance. Let beets cool and peel. Cut beets into wedges and place in a bowl or refrigerate if not used right away.
  2. Remove the stems from the beet greens. Discard stems and roughly chop the beet greens.
  3. Bring a medium sized pot of water up to a boil. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the boiling water.
  4. Carefully add the chopped beet greens all at once making sure to completely submerge. The greens will begin to wilt instantly and should be removed within 2 minutes with a handled strainer or spider and placed into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process.
  5. Using your hands, move the greens around in the icy water to make sure all pieces are cooled.
  6. Drain cooled greens and squeeze by the handful to remove excess water.
  7. Place greens in bowl with the beets.
  8. Add sliced onions.
  9. To make the vinaigrette pour vinegar into bowl and add garlic. Slowly add olive oil and whisk until combined. Add honey.
  10. Lightly dress the beets, onion and greens to taste. Add the sliced kumquats, quickly toss, sprinkle lightly with flaked sea salt and serve immediately.

Notes

Recipe makes more vinaigrette than needed for the salad, Can be stored in refrigerator for at least 1 week.

Total time does not include cooling time for roasted beets.

Beets can be roasted and peeled a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Vinaigrette can be made ahead and kept in refrigerator until ready to use. The recipe makes more than you will need and can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days at least.

I have a photo tutorial of the process used to wilt greens from a previous post. I used Swiss chard then but the process is the same. (Warning: It's one of my early posts. Changes have been made to the site since then, and there are some alignment issues.)

I prefer to slice the onion in half through the root end. Lay the onion on its flat side and cut in half horizontally. Then make vertical, sliver-type cuts. I like the way the slivers are more uniform and you don't have to chase around varying lengths of onion. I'm picky that way.

The kumquats will immediately begin to take on the beet color once the salad is tossed. Do not add them until ready to serve.

The only dislike - if you can really call it that - I had with this salad was the effect the beet greens had on my teeth. I can only describe it as slightly fuzzy - not bad, just noticeable and short lived. It wouldn't stop me from making the salad again.

http://www.lemonsandlavender.com/2011/04/roasted-beet-kumquat-and-wilted-beet-greens-salad-with-garlic-honey-vinaigrette/

 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Isabelle April 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm

What a gorgeous salad! I spotted the photo on Tastespotting and, being a fellow beet addict, I couldn't resist coming over to check it out.
Love the fact that the beet greens don't go to waste with this recipe. Will have to try to find some kumquats so that I can give it a try.

Reply

yummy supper April 30, 2011 at 6:06 am

Lori, Beet greens! I am so glad you are spreading the word. It is such a shame to seem them thrown out when they are so delicious and good for you.

Your recipe looks wonderful!

-Erin

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Lemons and Lavender May 2, 2011 at 3:06 am

Isabelle, you could always substitute orange segments and add a little zest to the dressing to carry on the flavors. Just a thought…

Hi E! I do love the beet greens and all those vitamins. And the kumquats just make it even better.

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Nancy May 3, 2011 at 5:20 am

Gorgeous salad!! I am a bit of a "beet" fiend too! Love the greens as well. I never thought to thinly slice kumquats to add to a salad but it's brilliant – will definitely have to try it out!!

Reply

Lemons and Lavender May 3, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Nancy, thank you! I am loving the kumquats right now – such an unexpected brightness to salads. Thank you for Stumbling this post. Happy stats!!

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b29d0f00-6077-11e0-bba0-000bcdcb8a73 May 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Oh, how wonderful this salad sounds! Living in WI, everything is behind – Spring has been hard to come by. I always plant at least 2 kinds of beet: Crapaudine in my historical/medieval kitchen garden (translates to "Old Toad" – they are the oldest known beet strain going back at least 1,000 years), and Golden beets. Together in a salad they are like jewels! And I know what you mean about the slight 'fuzzy' feeling on your teeth! Spinach is like that, too!

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rosemarried May 30, 2011 at 12:00 am

So many lovely things packed into one salad. I don't use kumquats much, but this is inspiring me to do so. What a great, great recipe.

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