Beets with (Fennel, Orange, and Walnut)^2

February 26, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I've always loved sweet beets with bright orange, crunchy fennel, and earthy walnuts. Here, each ingredient appears in two different forms, offering depth and intrigue to what already is one of my favorite combinations. Food52 doesn't allow for superscripts, but it's Beet Salad Squared! —Rivka

What You'll Need
  • 2 large beets
  • 1 bulb fennel, stalks removed, fronds reserved
  • 3 oranges, zested and supremed
  • 3/4 cup freshly toasted walnut halves
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, dry toasted in a hot pan
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, squeezed from oranges after segments have been removed
  • 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  • flaky salt and freshly cracked pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Wrap beets completely in aluminum foil and set on baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes to an hour, until a knife can be easily inserted into beets. Remove from oven, unwrap foil, and allow beets to cool.
  2. While beets cook, make dressing: combine orange zest, fennel seeds, shallot, orange juice, vinegar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.. I like my dressing chunky, but if you prefer it smooth, puree these ingredients together. Slowly whisk in walnut oil.
  3. When beets are cool enough to handle, cut off root end and tip, and use paper towel to slip skin off (should come off pretty easily once beets are fully cooked). Halve beets lengthwise, slice each half into 7 or 8 wedges, and transfer to bowl. Drizzle half the dressing over the beets and toss to incorporate using a large wooden spoon (metal may cut or break beet wedges). Transfer to refrigerator to chill.
  4. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice fennel as thinly as possible. Transfer to a bowl drizzle with a few tablespoons of dressing, to taste. Do this as soon as possible to prevent fennel from oxidizing. Let marinate about 5 minutes.
  5. When beets are sufficiently cool but not cold, plate salad: lay down a bed of fennel on each plate. Set beet wedges in spiral pattern overtop, and alternate orange wedges in between. Sprinkle toasted walnuts overtop. Finish with a little drizzle of remaining dressing, a sprinkle of flaky salt, and a grind of the pepper mill. Top with a few fronds of fennel. Serve immediately.
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