Orange, Beet and Spinach Salad with a Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

Orange, Beet and Spinach Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette (www.mincedblog.com)

This week I prepared meals for several friends that recently had babies.  My go-to meal for these busy families is Chicken Marbella from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  My mom first introduced this make-ahead recipe to me and it has been a favorite in my family ever since.   Chicken pieces are marinated overnight with green olives, prunes, capers, and a flavorful vinaigrette of red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil with plenty of robust seasonings.  The dish is then baked for 1 hour yielding delicious chicken with an even better sauce that makes you beg for more couscous or rice to soak it all up.

Orange, Beet and Spinach Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette (www.mincedblog.com)

As an accompaniment to this dish, I always like to include a fresh seasonal salad.  At the grocery store earlier this week, I wandered the aisles looking for inspiration and found it in sunny navel oranges and ruby-red beets. Adding tender baby spinach and tangy goat cheese to my cart I had my salad ingredients.

For the dressing, I looked to my pantry.  Sherry vinegar is a favorite of mine especially when paired with Dijon mustard and a little honey to tone down the acidity.  The combination worked beautifully with the oranges and roasted beets managing to highlight the brightness of the oranges while toning down the earthiness of the beets.  My husband, who smartly eats whatever I serve to him happily, remains a committed skeptic of beets.  Yet he scraped his salad plate clean and declared it delicious.  I’ll take that as a ringing endorsement.

Orange, Beet and Spinach Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette (www.mincedblog.com)

Whether making food for a friend or for your own family, this winter salad is worth a spot on your table.   If preparing in advance, be sure to keep all ingredients separate until ready to serve.  Otherwise, the dressing will wilt the spinach and the roasted beets will turn everything a lovely shade of pink. Happy cooking!

Culinary Tip: Whenever I add citrus to a salad I like to cut it into supremes.  This refers to a cleaned citrus segment without any skin, pith or membrane.  See the illustration below for instructions on how to master this cut.

 

Orange, Beet and Spinach Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 6

If preparing in advance, be sure to not assemble ingredients until the very last minute.  Dressing added too early results in a limp salad and tossing in the beets in advance will turn everything a vivid pink color (which may or may not be what you are going for).

For the salad:
1 bunch (about 1 1/4 lbs) small beets, trimmed
Olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 navel oranges, cut into suprêmes
8 ounces baby spinach, washed
3.5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

For the honey-dijon vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Tear a small square of foil for each beet.  Place each trimmed beet atop a foil square and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Wrap each beet individually in foil, enclosing it completely, and place all the wrapped beets on a baking sheet.  Bake until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Peel the beets (wear gloves to avoid staining your hands) and slice the beets into small wedges. Set aside.

Whisk the sherry wine vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl.  Slowly pour in the olive oil whisking constantly.   Season to taste with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When ready to serve, add the spinach to a large bowl.  Pour some of the vinaigrette over the spinach and toss to coat.  Add more dressing if needed.   Sprinkle the beets, orange suprêmes, and goat cheese over the salad.   Serve immediately.

 

 

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