Seems to me beets and oranges are a classic winter salad combination that you see everywhere. Beets and walnuts are too. This one has both, but no red onions and no cheese (often a players with the beets and walnuts). My friend Sophie's dad, Jim Broderick, gave me the idea that really makes this salad great: fennel and orange rind in the dressing. The oranges and beets are best tossed in at the last minute, when you dress the salad to serve it, lest the o-juice and beety color run amok. —Teresa Parker
4 to 6
medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
navel oranges, peel zested and fruit sectioned
fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
fresh lemon juice
coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
head red leaf lettuce, rinsed, dried, and torn into pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the beets on one half of a large piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt. Fold the foil in half to make a packet and roll the edges to seal. Lay on a baking sheet, and roast until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool. Peel the beets, and slice into 1/2-inch thick wedges.
Zest one orange -- you need 1 teaspoon grated zest. Using a very sharp knife, cut the ends from the oranges, slicing just deep enough to expose the flesh. Cut off the remaining peel and pith. Then, working over a bowl, remove the segments, cutting between the membrane.
In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, orange zest, fennel seeds, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil. Adjust seasoning.
In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, beets, and walnuts. Drain the orange sections and add them to the salad. Pour in the dressing and toss to mix. Adjust seasoning.