Springtime in Sacramento is absolutely gorgeous. All the cherry blossom trees in my neighborhood are in full bloom right now, the daffodils are out and ready to play, and kumquats are in season. Now Mr.S. hates kumquats but I, on the other hand, find them to be cute and delicious. If you're unsure of what a kumquat is - they kind of look like an orange but they're about the size of a large oblong grape. They have a wonderful citrusy smell and the whole thing is edible (minus the seeds). When you bite in, you'll find that the rind is soft and sweet and the flesh has a tart punchiness that might make you pucker for a second. They're quite versatile too- last year I candied a bunch, baked them in cakes and muddled them in my cocktails but this year I've been mostly snacking on them raw or slicing them into thin rounds and mixing them with my salad greens. Today I ran out of salad greens so I decided to roast up some baby beets that I had in the fridge and dress them with a light kumquat vinaigrette. Can you say, "Freakin' YUM!"? If you could bottle up some of our current beautiful spring weather, I'm sure it'd taste a lot like this vinaigrette- bright and peppy!
Springtime Roasted Baby Beet Salad with Kumquat Vinaigrette
makes 1 serving
1 dozen baby beets
2 tablespoons kumquat juice (approximately 10-12 kumquats)
3.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon orange champagne vinegar (regular champagne vinegar or white balsamic vinegar works fine too)
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Wash the baby beets, remove tops (tip: save them and sauté them for dinner). Dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Toss with 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil. Place in oven and roast for 30-35 minutes until beets are tender.
3. Remove beets from oven. Open aluminum packet, allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Once cooled, remove beets from foil. Using a paper towel, "slip" the beet skins off.
4. In a small bowel, whisk together kumquat juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange champagne vinegar, honey and garlic. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
5. Drizzle vinaigrette over beets and toss.
6. Serve immediately.