The secret to this irresistible salad is all the contrasting flavors and textures. The tangerines are sweet, and the white beets are savory. The avocado is smooth, and the pine nuts are crunchy. Even the aged balsamic vinegar and basil olive oil each have a balance of tang and sweetness. All these contrasts in one bite just make me want to say "wow."
The recipe was inspired by my CSA (community-supported agriculture) produce box. Last winter I was trying to utilize what came in my box, and this winter salad was born.
The recipe features Golden Nugget tangerines. Inside their wrinkly, ugly exterior, is a sweet and juicy flesh. Golden Nuggets peel and segment easily and have thin membranes, which is perfect for this salad. Clementine tangerines work equally well and are easier to find in the supermarket. —FoodieGoesHealthy
white beets (or baby turnips)
plain olive oil (or enough to cover)
seedless tangerine (like golden nugget or clementine)
To roast the beets:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim the top and skinny bottom off of the beets. Peel, rinse, and dry. Slice the beets into circles about 1/2" thick. Lightly coat the beets in plain olive oil. Spread the beets in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Let cool. Cut each circle in half, and set aside for the salad. The beets can be roasted ahead.
To slice the tangerines:
Slice the tangerine into circles. Start by slicing off the rind at the top and bottom of the tangerine, and discard the rind. Take the remaining tangerine and slice it into 3 circles, each about 1/2" in thickness. Peel off and discard the rind around the perimeter of the circles. Divide each circle into triangular segments and set tangerine pieces aside for the salad.
In a salad serving bowl, put in the lettuce, roasted beets, segmented tangerines, avocado, and pinenuts. Drizzle salad with basil olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and serve immediately.