Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beets, apples and mixed greens with a curry vinaigrette

This salad is inspired by a salad from the Greens vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. It combines sweet, tart, crunchy, spicy and fresh to create a wonderful mix of flavors and textures. The beets provide color and sweetness, walnuts add crunch, apples add crunch and sweetness and the juicy currants add another level of texture and sweetness. I use a mixture of tart and sweet apples to balance the flavors. The curry vinaigrette is spicy without the heat and marries all the ingredients to create this harmonious balance.

Beets, apples and mixed greens with a curry vinaigrette
3 small beets
3 scallions, white parts only finely minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped into small pieces
3 oz mixed greens like spring mix, washed and spin dried
1/2 granny smith apple, cut into thin strips
1/2 Braeburn or Fuji apple (I like the crunch and sweetness of these varieties), cut into thin strips 
Curry vinaigrette (recipe follows)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Leaving tails and an inch of the stems on the beets, put in baking pan with ¼" water, cover and bake them until tender when pierced with a knife, 25 to 40 minutes depending on size. Do not overcook them.
  2. When cool enough to handle, peel and slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices and then cut them vertically into matchsticks. Toss them with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and half the minced scallions. Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar to complement the sweetness of the beets. Set them aside for an hour.
  3. Cover the currants with hot water and let them stand to soften for 30 minutes. Then drain and dry them with a kitchen towel to remove extra water and add them to the cooked beets. Add the apples, walnuts and the remaining scallions to the beet and currant mixture. 
  4. Toss with the remaining dressing. Add the greens and mix once before serving. Check the seasoning.

Serves 4 to 6

Curry Vinaigrette
1/2 clove garlic, grated
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon  fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
2 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Mix the garlic, ginger, curry powder and salt. Add the red wine vinegar and whisk in the olive oil.

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