Top: Pastel beet salad for Easter, from the Oyster Club. Middle: Gold beets is the name given to the orange varieties. Bottom: Chioggia beets, pronounced KYO-jah, sometimes called candy cane beets. Beet photos from Good Eggs.
We adapted this charming salad concept from the Oyster Club in Mystic, Connecticut, as our Easter salad. Look in specialty produce stores or farmers markets for the beets.
RECIPE: EASTER SALAD
Chioggia, orange [a.k.a. gold], pink, red and/or yellow beets
Mesclun or frisée
Blood orange or mandarin segments, peeled
Fresh orange for orange vinaigrette (Step 5, below)
Extra virgin olive oil
Garnish: toasted pine nuts or chopped pistachio nuts
Optional garnish: dyed hard-boiled quail eggs, ideally two in different colors for each person
The first three steps can be done a day in advance.
1. ROAST the beets and cut into batons, approximately 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 2-1/2 inches.
2. TOAST the pine nuts. Pistachios, which we personally prefer, don’t need to be chopped.
3. BOIL and dye the optional quail eggs.
4. SUPRÊME the orange. Suprême (soo-PREHM) is a technique that removes the membrane from citrus fruit segments* so they can be served in slices. Slice off the top and bottom of the orange with a very sharp knife. Set the fruit on one of the flat ends and carefully cut the skin from the flesh, beginning at the top and following the curves down.
Carefully cut out each section of the fruit by inserting the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane on both sides. The wedges should come out easily. Be sure to capture the juice. It may be enough for the vinaigrette. Here’s a video.
5. MAKE the vinaigrette, in the proportion of three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to 1 tablespoon of orange juice. Using fresh-squeezed orange juice is noticeably better. When ready to assemble:
6. WASH and pat dry the greens. Place the beets and orange segments in an arrangement as shown, with a plume of greens. With a tablespoon, spoon the vinaigrette in a circle around the plate. Garnish with nuts. If using quail eggs, tuck them under the other ingredients, peeking out. Serve.
*In French cooking, suprême refers to the best part of the food. In the case of citrus, you’re removing the peel, pith and membranes to get to the best part—the juicy segments.