So the Super Bowl was yesterday and blah blah blah. I may offend many of my fellow Americans when I say this, but what the hell is with everyone and football? Grown men darting around in Spanx, fighting to the death over a charmingly-named “pig skin”, bashing heads like they’re auditioning for Braveheart? Um, hello?
Can you tell I never played sports?
The only part I like about this yearly fight over whose team sucks less is the food, and I didn’t even get any this year. No crispy jalepeno poppers. No orange “cheese” covered nachos. No steak on a stake. Nope– this year, I opted to make a flingin’ flangin’ salad. With beets. The most un-football like food ever.
And I regret nothing! Did I maybe have it with a side of rib-eye steak, butter sauce, and baguette? Of course. I’m not an animal. I wouldn’t go eating a salad without accoutrements. That would just be crass.
- 5 small beets
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 t mustard
- 1 t honey
- 1 t red wine vinegar
- 1 t balsamic vinegar
- 2 T olive oil
- ½ t salt
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 c pecans
- ¼ c sugar
- pinch cayenne pepper
- ⅓ c goat or other soft cheese
- 8 oz fresh arugula, or about 5 handfuls, washed and dried. Chopped if leaves are large
- Preheat oven to 375. Place the beets on a large square of aluminum foil, drizzle on 1 T olive oil, and wrap tightly. Bake for 40 minutes, or until pierced easily with a knife. Let cool, then peel off the skins (they will come off very easily once cooked) and cut into 1" cubes.
- Place the pecans, sugar, and cayenne in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar melts and coats the pecans (about 5-10 minutes), turn off the heat and let cool. Break apart and set aside. Watch the pecans carefully while cooking and keep stirring so they don't burn.
- Using a small serrated or paring knife, Cut the top of the blood oranges off-- cut off enough so that you break through the pith and expose the orange segments. Cut the peel off the orange: start at the exposed end and cut it in a spiral (think of Meg Ryan cutting the apple peel off in Sleepless in Seattle), making sure to cut far enough into the orange that you are getting the outer pith off. You'll take a bit of the orange with you, but you want to expose the segments. Once the peel is off the outside, use a sharp knife to saw down the sides of each segment. You will be able to remove each segment, pith free, from the orange. Reserve the pulpy mess that's less and squeeze all that good juice into a medium bowl. Place the segments aside. If this is all too daunting, just peel the orange and throw in the segments, pith and all!
- Make the dressing: whisk together the shallot, mustard, honey, vinegars, and blood orange juice you squeezed out. While whisking, drizzle in the 2 T olive oil. Add the avocado and orange segments and set aside.
- In a large bowl, layer the arugula, pecans, and beets. Toss in the dressing/avocado/orange mixture and toss thoroughly. Crumble on the cheese and serve. Nom!