The color of this salad will just about knock your eyes out – the beets quickly turn the clementines a crazy orange-pink color! The pomegranate seeds are a nice crunchy surprise in your mouth, too. Of course, you could serve this on some greens for more of a traditional salad, but it’s pretty perfect the way it is. And if you’re a cheese eater, this would also be nice with a little bit of goat cheese (Coach Farm is making a delicious low-fat goat cheese now, and I have indulged in a few bites.)
This was inspired by a recipe I found on Epicurious, but I’ve changed it up a bit. For one thing, the original recipe called for blood oranges, but they aren’t quite in season yet (and interestingly, weren’t in season when Bon Appetit published it in November, 2003.) It’s worth seeking out the pomegranate molasses, which is used in muhammara and is great in salad dressings and cocktails.
The other day someone asked me if beets had any nutritional value – they thought beets were all sugar and nothing else. Not true. As this nutrition site explains, they contain important betalain pigments and are packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. But did you know that up to 15% of adults experience “beeturia” after eating beets? In other words, beets turn their urine red. They can turn other things red, too. But let’s not go there, ok?
Photo prop fun: since so many people ask me about the props used in my photos, I’ll start giving you a little detail when the prop is noteworthy. Here I’ve used a vintage feedsack as a tablecloth. Until I found a stash of these at an antique store in Virginia last week, I never knew that flour and sugar used to be sold in pretty cotton sacks, so women would want to make clothes out of them. Smart marketing!
Beet, Clementine and Pomegranate Salad
4 medium beets
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange, tangerine or clementine juice
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 clementines (or satsuma tangerines), peeled and separated into sections
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the stems and wrap each beet tightly in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake about an hour or until the beets feel tender when pierced with a knife. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes, then peel and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Whisk together the juice, pomegranate molasses and vinegar in a medium serving bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk well. Season to taste with salt and pepper (it won’t need much salt, if any.) Add the beets, onions, clementines and pomegranate seeds and mix gently. Serve.