I love our Gr8 Dinners because we get assigned dishes and recipes that maybe we would never have tried. And we each stretch ourselves a bit. This Roasted Baby Beet Salad with Candied Kumquats was definitely a stretch for me.
Kyle and Joel’s recent Gr8 invitation to their “Baby Shower” themed Gr8 dinner was so fun because each dish had “baby” in the name. Vince and I were assigned a salad of baby greens with baby beets so that’s how this dish was “born.”
The citrus vinaigrette for this salad started with the same vinaigrette that’s on my Psychedelic Salad, then grew into a dressing that would work with the beets, kumquats and feta cheese. I decided to process the pistachios into the dressing so that instead of biting into big pieces of pistachio, you get the flavor with each bite.
Making the candied kumquats was so fun and they are unbelievably delicious. If you have leftovers, they would be perfect added to a Cheese and Charcuterie Board.
This salad was a hit! And my taste tester (guess who!) loved having it for lunch the day of the dinner and then again at the Gr8 Dinner that night!
Slice ends off kumquats and discard. Then slice each fruit into 4 slices each, removing seeds as you go.
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan large enough to also accommodate the kumquats.
When the water is boiling and the sugar is dissolved add the kumquats.
Simmer for 10 minutes, gently stir occasionally.
Drain the kumquats over a bowl and return the syrup to the saucepan.
Bring the syrup to a boil once again and cook until reduced by about half.
Put the fruit slices into a bowl or jar and pour the syrup over. Cool, then cover and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
If the beets still have their tops, cut the tops off about 1/2" above the beet. (You can cook the greens and serve separately.)
Wash the beets and pat dry.
Lay them in a roasting pan and drizzle 1 Tablespoon of the oil over them. Toss to completely coat. If more oil is needed, add up to another Tablespoon.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and seal tightly.
Cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes until beets are tender when pierced with a fork.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins
Slice beets into thin slices.
In the bowl of a small food processor pulse the garlic until minced. Or mince by hand.
Add the pistachios to the food processor and pulse until finely ground. Or finely chop by hand along with the garlic.
To the bowl of the mini processor add the vinegar, orange juice, oil, honey and pepper. Process until well combined. Alternatively, put the minced garlic and nuts into a jar, add the remaining ingredients and shake vigorously until combined.
Refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made up to 4 days ahead. I like to bring this to room temperature before serving as I think the flavors come through better when not so cold.
Arrange the beet slices in a flat circle around the edge of your salad plates.
Toss the arugula with 2 Tablespoons of the dressing. Add more dressing in 1 Tablespoon increments if necessary. Then add the crumbled feta and toss lightly.
Pile some of the arugula mixture on each plate on top of the beet slices.
Add the kumquat slices to the top of each salad.