Beet and Orange Salad with Fennel and Red Onion

I love beets. I love oranges. I love fennel. So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this recipe for beet, orange and fennel salad. I first made this recipe with blood oranges since they are my favorite, but the second time I prepared this, earlier this morning for Easter dinner for 25, blood oranges were no longer in season. (One of the saddest things of the coming of spring is the end of blood orange season). But I prevailed with some Cara Cara oranges, and no one seemed to notice the difference.

Beet and Orange Salad with Fennel and Red Onion (adapted from Bon Appetit)

8 decent size beets
5 large Cara Cara oranges
1 bulb fennel, sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt, to taste

serves: a crowd.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your beets in the boiling water for the better part of an hour. My 8 beets took about 50 minutes. Once they are fork tender, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a bed of paper towels to cool. Once cooled, simply peel off their skins by rubbing the beets. This can be done ahead of time. I prepped my beets the night before, stored them in the refrigerator in a freezer bag overnight, and sliced them into rounds the day-of. Also, this salad is WONDERFUL with golden beets, but I simply could not track them down in New Jersey and the Whole Foods nearest to my parents’ house isn’t very near at all.

Next, prepare your oranges. The Cara Cara oranges were difficult to get clean slices from, so I ended up breaking them up into segments. They may not have been as perfectly pretty, but they tasted just as good.

cara cara oranges

Thinly slice your fennel and onion, and you’re ready to begin assembling the salad. I started with the beets, layered the oranges on top, followed by the fennel and red onion. As I worked, I squeezed a bit of lemon juice over each layer and drizzled some olive oil. I didn’t want to totally toss this salad because I didn’t want everything turning magenta before it was served. My hands were enough for the moment.

Serve your hungry guests! Even beet-skeptics were raving about this salad. It was the perfect light, refreshing addition to an otherwise heavy meal. I’m definitely looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.


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