Winter Beet and Citrus Salad with Dates and Almonds
Sweet, tart, crunchy, tangy—this colorful salad has it all. Its contrasting textures and surprising flavors keep you coming back for another refreshing bite. Serve the salad with store-bought roast chicken or grilled pork chops.
Wine suggestion: California Chardonnay or California sparkling wine
- 4 medium golden beets, about ¾ pound (325 g), greens removed if attached
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 whole allspice berries
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 large navel oranges or blood oranges
- ½ large fennel bulb
- 6 Medjool dates, pitted and quartered lengthwise
- 2 ounces feta, preferably Greek or French
- Fresh mint leaves
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the beets in a baking dish with the vinegar, allspice, thyme, and ½ inch of water. Cover and bake until the beets are tender when pierced, 45 to 60 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the beets. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled, then slice thin.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
Cut a slice off both ends of each orange so it will stand upright. Stand each orange on a cutting surface and, using a sharp knife, remove all the peel and white pith by slicing from top to bottom all the way around the orange, following the contour of the fruit. Slice the peeled oranges crosswise ¼ inch thick. Discard the first and last slices if they seem to be mostly membrane. Remove the small bit of white pith at the center of each slice.
Cut the halved fennel bulb in half lengthwise. With a vegetable slicer or by hand, shave or slice very thin. Put the fennel in a small bowl and add just enough of the olive oil-lemon dressing to coat the fennel lightly. Toss gently.
On a serving platter or on individual salad plates, arrange the beets and oranges informally, breaking the orange slices into half-moons or even smaller pieces. Scatter the fennel on top, then top with the dates, almonds, and crumbled feta. Drizzle with the remaining dressing. Scatter a few small mint leaves on top, or tear into smaller pieces if they are large. Serve immediately.