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This is a very attractive dish for holiday meals! It goes even faster when you pre-roast the beets, toast the walnuts, and make the dressing in advance to the meal. Adapted from Cooking Light.
- 6 beets
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vegetable oil or 1 1⁄2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 fennel bulbs, with stalks (1 1/4 pounds)
- 2 cups sliced Belgian endive (about 2 small heads)
- 1⁄3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
- 6 ounces fresh Baby Spinach
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper or 1⁄4 teaspoon tricolor pepper
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon finely minced fresh shallot, to taste (optional)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch nutmeg, to taste
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons reserved minced fennel leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely crumbled feta cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Trim the beets, leaving the root and about 1 inch of the stem, then scrubbing them with a vegetable brush. Wearing gloves (if you like), peel the beets (the gloves prevent them from staining your hands), and cut them into 1/2-inch thick wedges.
- Pan spray a cooking sheet, then drizzle with the oil, tossing once to coat. Bake in oven at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes, stirring twice, or until the beets are tender.
- While beets are roasting, prepare the other vegetables and dressing.
- Rinse the fennel bulbs to make sure they're thoroughly clean. Remove the tough outer leaves, retaining the feathery fronds. Remove fronds from leaves/stalks and mince them to measure 2 tablespoons. Remove stalks from fennel and discard.
- Cut the cleaned bulbs in half, lengthwise, discarding the cores. Cut the divided bulbs into 1/8 to 1/4-inch slices.
- Slice the Belgian endives into whatever width you prefer, although it's nice if they're thinner than the fennel pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine the fennel, endive, walnuts, spinach, salt, and pepper. Toss gently; set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the vinegars, honey, orange rind, orange juice, basil, shallot (if using) olive oil, Dijon, nutmeg, and salt.
- When beets are done roasting, remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Drizzle the fennel mixture with the whisked dressing, then add the roasted beets. Toss to combine. Tidy up the edges of the serving bowl with a napkin. Garnish the salad with the minced fennel fronds and feta cheese (if using), and serve.
- Makes about 12 servings, 1 cup each.