Beet Frisée Watercress Salad with Orange Suprêmes & Candied Zest

This was the first course to my 6-course New Year’s Day Dinner party for 8 people.

I have adapted Oceana‘s beet salad. I was very happy with this dish and at the same time, I found out that burnt candied orange zest goes so well as a garnish for a cocktail drink – Red Lion (Gin, Cointreau, orange juice, lemon juice, Grenadine).

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For the Beets & Purée

  • 8 large red beets
  • 1 garlic head, cut horizontally
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TBS whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove beet greens and wash beets well. In a deep baking dish, place all ingredients in and a light sprinkle of salt. Bake until tender.

Peel beets while warm and cut each beet into 6 pieces. Save scraps for purée. Serving size per person is 5 beet pieces. Choose the nicest pieces for serving and reserve all other pieces for the purée. In a blender, purée all scraps and ugly pieces. You may have to add a few tablespoons of water. Season purée with salt, to taste. Set both purée and beet pieces aside.

For the Salad

  • 2 watercress bunches, picked
  • 1 frisée head, white and light green parts only

Pick and wash watercress and frisée. Set aside.

For the Suprêmes & Vinaigrette

  • 4 navel oranges, zested, suprêmed, juices reserved
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • EVOO
  • Salt, to taste
  • White pepper, to taste

4 navel orange suprêmes was divided exactly for 8 people’s salads. You may want to increase the number of oranges if you’re unfamiliar with suprêming.

Zest two of the oranges with a peeler. Julienne the zest and set aside.

Suprême each orange and reserve juices for vinaigrette. Set suprêmes aside. After suprêming each orange, squeeze the core to get more juice. Strain juice before making vinaigrette.

Ratio: 1 part vinegar :: 2 parts juice :: 3 parts EVOO. Using an immersion blender, blend vinegar, juice, EVOO, and lemon juice. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Before dressing, blend again.

For the Candied Zest

  • Orange zest from above
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Water

Boil the zest three times, in cold water each time, for 5 minutes each time, changing the water each time.

In a shallow pot, add lemon juice, sugar, and enough water to cover orange zest and on low heat, cook until water has evaporated and mixture is bubbly. Be very careful not to burn because when you remove from the heat, the pot will continue to cook and sugar caramelizes fast.

When zest is still warm, remove each julienned zest from pot and place on parchment paper.

TO ASSEMBLE

Using a large spoon, spoon a good amount of beet purée on a chilled plate and slide the spoon through it so it creates a streak. Place 5 beet pieces on top of the streak, facing the same direction. Place 5 orange suprêmes beside each beet piece. In a large mixing bowl, dress watercress and frisée. Carefully place greens on top of beets. Place 5 candied zest pieces on top of salad, then serve.

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