French food doesn’t need to be all heavy sauces and rich meaty stews. This light and bright salad is packed with the flavors of summer, and a few extra touches make it feel special enough for entertaining. Sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard bring acidity to this dish, and lend a distinctly Parisian flavor profile. Vinegar also stimulates your digestion and gives your body’s detoxifying systems a boost. Beets, the star of this salad, deliver vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and manganese. They’re also a rich source of the B vitamin folate, essential for expectant mothers. Fennel is also a nutritional powerhouse, helping to lower cholesterol and boost digestion. To round out this meal, serve it alongside your favorite protein. Grilled salmon, shrimp, or chicken would be a delicious accompaniment, and can be seasoned with any extra vinaigrette you have leftover.
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 4-6 small/medium beets, tops trimmed off
- 2 oranges, divided
- ½ cup sherry vinegar, divided
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 heads romaine or butter lettuce, washed, dried, and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 head fennel
- 1 pear, cut into bite size pieces
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh dill, to serve (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut one of your oranges in half. Squeeze the juice from the orange into a small roasting dish, and add the orange halves. Combine the beets with the orange, and add 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the clove of garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything together, cover with aluminum foil, and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the beets are tender when pierced.
- While the beets roast, assemble the rest of the salad. Arrange the lettuce in a large bowl. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, shave the fennel into thin half-moons. Arrange over the lettuce. Peel your second orange, and slice off the bitter white pith. Cut out the orange supremes out from between the membranes, and arrange the over the fennel. Add the pears on top of the oranges.
- To candy the hazelnuts, toss them with the honey and 1 teaspoon olive oil, and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven alongside the beets for 8-10 minutes, watching them carefully, until they’re just starting to turn golden brown and the sugar caramelizes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. They will harden as they stand. Use your fingers to break them up if needed.
- When they beets are tender, trim their ends, peel their skins, and slice them into bite size pieces. Arrange them on top of the salad, and sprinkle with the candied hazelnuts.
- To make the vinaigrette, strain the roasting liquid from the beets into a bowl. Whisk in the Dijon mustard, and add olive oil and sherry vinegar to taste. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle a small amount over the salad. Garnish the salad with fresh dill if using, and serve with extra vinaigrette on the side. Enjoy!