ok...enough of my babbling. since figs have been on my mind...and taking over my life...i thought my contribution to winter salad week would involve figs. my weekly csa box has included beets for the past few weeks...and i have oranges on hand...so fig, beet and orange sounded like a perfect combination.
regular readers know that i am addicted to roasting vegetables...and fruit. i roast everything, but i had not roasted oranges before. i thought the end result would be interesting so i roasted the oranges along with the figs and beets. you know what? they are delicious. roasting deepens and softens the citrus flavor. they caramelize just a bit and pair really nicely with the other ingredients. the salad looks and tastes delicious and is perfect for a fall lunch or as the first course of a harvest dinner. i added feta today...but goat cheese would be equally delicious....and maybe a sprinkling of hazelnuts? hmm...lots of possibilities with this one....what would you add?
roasted beet, fig and orange salad
6-8 small beets
extra virgin olive oil
6 fresh figs, washed and cut in half
1 orange, peeled and sectioned
3 cups baby spinach , washed and dried
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
grey sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
honey mustard vinaigrette (recipe follows)
fig balsamic reduction (recipe follows) or excellent quality aged balsamic vinegar
after beets have been roasting for approx. 40 minutes, remove from oven and add fig slices and orange sections directly to the same rimmed baking sheet...push the beet packets to one side of pan. drizzle figs and oranges with a couple passes of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt (about a tsp of salt). add back to oven and continue roasting for an additional 20 minutes or until figs and oranges have begun to caramelize and beets can be easily pierced with a knife. (be very careful when opening beet packets to allow the steam to escape). let cool and peel the beets. cut in half and then into wedges. set aside.
meanwhile add spinach to medium bowl. add a couple of tablespoons of honey mustard vinaigrette and toss. go light with the dressing, you don't want to drown the leaves...start with 1 tbsp, toss and add a little at a time of the second tbsp.you may not need all of the second tbsp. add feta and salt & pepper to taste. mound spinach on a serving platter. scatter the beets, figs and orange wedges on top on the spinach. drizzle the fig/balsamic reduction (or balsamic vinegar) over the top of the salad. drizzle a bit more honey mustard vinaigrette if desired. adjust seasonings to taste and serve immediately.
pinch grey salt
pinch black pepper
1 tbsp honey mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
make viniagrette... add vinegar, salt pepper and mustard to small bowl and whisk to incorporate. pour in e.v.o.o in a stream whisking constantly. taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. transfer to small mason jar with lid and set aside.
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla (i like tahitian)
1. scoop out fig pulp
2. in saucepan, add vinegar, fig pulp and simmer on low heat until mixture reduces down to about half. Stir occasionally (every 5-8 minutes). this will take 30-45 minutes.
3. allow fig/balsamic reduction to cool. place mixture in blender or food processor. blend thoroughly until mixture combines and becomes smooth. this step will also help release the seed from any pulp that has not cooked down. in separate bowl, strain out fig seeds. depending on your strainer, you might need to strain it at least two times to remove most of the seeds.
4. add 1 teaspoon vanilla to reduction, combine well
5. the reduction is very concentrated. use about 1 tsp at a time (or to taste) to your favorite marinades, sauces, dressings and drizzles.
now it is your turn to participate in fall fest. simply leave your fall salad tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below, and then go visit the collaborators listed on the blog away to garden and do the same.
the cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. yes, copy and paste them everywhere! that way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.
always...much thanks to margaret roach and deb puchalla for coordinating fall fest 2010. as always...its been a blast.
best and happy cooking!
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