The jewel tones of golden beets, green and pink watermelon radish, pungent black radish and blood oranges scattered together resemble a colorful bouquet of flowers in this mix of winter produce that brightens even the grayest winter day.
We recently had several cold grey days in a row here which normally would put me in the mood for a hearty soup or other comfort food, but as I was slicing the brightly colored radishes in my most recent CSA box I thought how beautiful they would look with the most colorful of winter citrus- the blood orange. Since beets always pair nicely with citrus, the golden beet I had in the fridge was a welcome addition to this dish. I whipped up a quick, light lemon, honey and thyme vinaigrette, added some salty feta and a sprinkling of fresh dill to complete this brilliantly colored salad.
As an added bonus, all three of the main components of this salad; citrus, radishes and beets are all high in vitamin C, making this a perfect salad for the middle of winter when we’re all trying to keep the colds and flu at bay.
I’ve always thought it was strange that citrus is a winter fruit. Bright sweet oranges and tangy lemons just seem to be the epitome of summer but while they are available year round, citrus is at its peak during winter. Then there are the sociable little radishes which, in some climates, are happy to grow during almost every season.
Any combination of citrus, radishes and beets work well here, the key is to slice the radishes and beets wafer thin- preferably on a mandolin if you have one. This is an especially good idea with the types of radish which have more bite, like the black radish. When sliced just right the beets should yield with a crisp snap when bent in half.
While you can assemble this salad on small, individual plates, it is particularly striking on a large serving tray or platter.
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons olive oil *
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
A pinch of salt
*Because of the simple flavors of this salad a good quality olive oil is key here, preferably one with a bright fruity flavor.
In a small bowl, whisk the above listed ingredients together until well combined. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
For the Salad:
2 blood oranges
2 small watermelon radishes
1 large black radish
1 large golden beet
1/3 cup crumbled feta
Using a paring knife, slice the peel and pith from the oranges, then slice the oranges into rounds about ¼ inch thick. Remove any seeds.
Wash and dry the radishes and beets, scrubbing away any dirt. Slice as thinly as possible with a sharp knife or slice on a mandolin set as thin as it will go.
Scatter the oranges, radish and beets on a serving dish, alternating between the three. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and scatter the crumbled feta over the top. Sprinkle with the fresh dill.
As written, this recipe makes enough for two.