One gets used to seeing certain things in the same old way. For example, I've dined at many restaurants that carry citrus salads as appetizer. Who can blame these restaurants for featuring citrus as a seasonal offering? Winter brings a wonderful variety, including satsumas, cara cara oranges, minneolas, tangerines, and blood oranges. And then there are beet appetizers too. The beets are usually paired with some sort of cheese like goat or ricotta salata. And garnished with nuts, often walnuts.
At home, I usually roast beets, and cut them up into slices or chunks. I am very happy eating beets prepared precisely this way because the sweet natural caramelized flavor is perfect. Beets as nature intended. Though I must admit that it never hurts to add a dollop of yogurt.
But let's face it. Sometimes when we are trying to live life at its simplest, we get bored and need a change. This recipe for Roasted Beet, Citrus, and Olive Salad with Horseradish is perfect for those moments you are feeling bored with the ordinary, everyday, ho hum.
When you can't just pick up and leave. Can't go to Barcelona because you need a new perspective on life that only travel will give you. Make a mini change and try this recipe. The mix of flavors will tango with your tastebuds., The dance will give you the lift you need when facing a weather report that forecasts yet another winter snow storm.
This recipe for Roasted Beet, Citrus, and Olive Salad with Horseradish, brings these ingredients together into one new and powerful flavor profile. Our ordinary beet salads and citrus salads have finally been upended. As Emeril Lagasse used to say, "BAM!" "BAM, BAM!!!" So when you want some culinary fireworks, make this recipe, and enjoy!
Originally published December 13, 2017. Edited and updated December 11, 2019.
Roasted Beet, Citrus, and Olive Salad with Horseradish
- 1-½ pounds beets a mix of colors if possible
- Kosher salt
- 1 navel orange or 2 smaller tangerines satsumas, or other sweet citrus
- 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped pitted black and green olives
- 1 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ¼ small red onion thinly sliced
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- A couple of inches fresh horseradish root
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Trim the top and bottom of the beets to remove any mud or grit. Cut any large beets so that they are all about the same size.
Put the beets in a baking dish that's large enough to accommodate all of them in a single layer. Season with some salt and pour ¼ cup water into the dish. Cover tightly with foil and steam-roast until the beets are fully tender when pierced with a knife. Depending on the size and density of the beets, this could take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, slide off the skins with your fingers or peel them off with a paring knife. Cut the beets into whatever jolly shape you like--wedges, chunks, rounds--and pile them into a large bowl. Keep them warm.
*Segment the orange, reserving the juice. Using the same method, peel the lime, but don't segment it. Once you've cut away the peel and pith, slice the lime crosswise into thin rounds.
Whisk together the reserved orange juice, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and chile flakes. Pour over the warm beets and toss. Let them sit and absorb the dressing for a few minutes, then toss again. Add the olives, parsley, onion, orange segments (and any accumulated juices), and lime slices and toss. Drizzle in a healthy glut of olive oil, and toss again. Do a final taste.
If you have time, chill the salad for about 1 hour (or as long as overnight) before serving. Taste the dressing and adjust the vinegar, salt, and chile flakes until the flavor is quite zesty.
To serve, grate a fine layer of horseradish onto each serving plate. Pile a portion of beet salad on top, and then finish with another nice showering of finely grated horseradish.
*To Segment Citrus: Cut a slice off each end of the citrus fruit to flatten. Stand it on the work surface on one of its flat sides. With a sharp knife, slice away the peel, including all the white pith, cutting from the top to the bottom and following the contour of the fruit. Take your time and work in wide strips. If any white pit remains, just slice it off. Cut out the citrus segments by holding the fruit in one hand and cutting along both sides of each segment to release it from the membranes. Do this over a bowl to catch the juices. Put the segments into another small bowl and then squeeze the "empty" citrus membranes to get out more juice.