The process of preparing and eating citrus makes me happy. I never get tired of the bright cheery colors; the way the skin's oils pop when peeled, exploding the most uplifting scents; and how a little lemon, lime, or orange can enliven an otherwise drab dish.
In my fridge, one veggie bin is dedicated to citrus; two or three orange varieties, one or two lemon varieties, limes, kumquats and limequats, and sometimes grapefruit. Then there's the basket full of easy-peel tangerines on our counter for quick snacking. It isn't unusual for three or four of them to disappear in a day. Citruses are one of my most favorite food flavor families.
April and May wrap up the season for most US-grown citrus varieties, and now is the use-it-or-lose-it window for the freshest citrus.
No, citrus is generally not grown within my 101-mile gathering radius. Some people grow lemon trees in pots, but here on the 44th parallel citrus is not grown as a crop. This is a perfect example of exceptions to my rule.
Red beets, also in peak season during these months, give earthy substance to the lively oranges. The dressing for this salad is the same as this three-ingredient sauce, with the addition of the zest and juice of a half orange.
If dairy is a part of your diet, topping this salad off with pieces of creamy burrata would be pretty amazing.
This beet-orange salad works in Oregon's seasons of Mist (November through March) and into the early part of Evergreen season (April-July.) It makes a visually gorgeous platter of color, and is perfect for your spring table.
Place the beets in a small saucepan fitted with a steamer basket if you have one, with ¾ inch of water. Put lid on the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow beets to simmer until fork-tender, about 20 minutes depending on the size of the beets. Allow to cool until they can be handled.
While the beets are cooking, prep the remaining ingredients: Make the citrusy green garlic dressing according to this recipe, adding the juice and zest of the ½ navel orange. Set aside.
Use a knife to peel and slice the citrus: Cut the top and bottom off each one. Stand the orange upright on its flat bottom and with your knife follow the curve of the orange from top to bottom, removing the peel and all the white pith. Cut into 1/4" slices.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them. The skins should slip off rather easily with your fingers, but if they don't gently scrape them away with a paring knife. Cut into ¼" slices.
Arrange the beet and orange slices on a platter, layering them into a pretty color design. Sprinkle the oranges and beets with salt to taste. Spoon the green garlic dressing down the center. If you're using the optional burrata, break it into rough pieces and lay over the top. Scatter the chopped pistachios across the top.
This salad is good served chilled, but is even better served room-temperature.Make It Your Own:Change the type of nuts you use-- walnuts and hazelnuts are both good options. If you don't have a mix of oranges available, don't let that stop you from making this delicious salad. Experiment with yellow, Chiogga, and other beet varieties, depending on what is available to you. When green garlic isn't in season, substitute flat-leave parsley and/or other herbs such as cilantro, dill and tarragon.
You’re in the right place to break up with cooking and hospitality anxiety, learn how to use recipes as guides rather than strict rules, and let your cooking intuition and confidence soar. I’m Pam Spettel, home cooking expert and guide, and I’m here to show you how.
Superpower: Dreaming up recipes that work, serving them to my friends and family, and writing little stories about how cooking them well is the same as loving well.
Inspiration: Ingredients! Fresh, colorful, fragrant, local, seasonal ingredients as an artistic medium.
Heroes: Food and wine producers– the people who keep me, my family, and our community nourished and happy.