Beetroot and orange is a classic arrangement which appears to have survived many a food trend.
However I can’t say I’ve been a long-term fan, as the handful of dishes I’ve tried over the years containing this combination seem to insist on drowning the poor beets in syrupy sweet orange juice, leaving one to wonder if they’re eating a savoury side or an extremely odd dessert.
But I was caught by surprise when I recently dined at the Gordon St Garage for lunch.
I ordered the beetroot and goat’s cheese salad (one of my favourite flavour unions), neglecting to notice the inclusion of ‘orange’ in the description…
Happy to say, when the dish which finally arrived in front of me and I took my first bite, I was immediately impressed.
The small segments of blood orange gave a noticeable but not overpowering burst of freshness to the earthiness of the baby beets. Their juice isn’t as sweet as ordinary oranges, which means it lends that perfect kick of zest and acidity.
So here we have it – a salad inspired by fare from the Gordon St Garage and a dish showcasing the transition between seasons.
A twist on a quintessential pairing. I think I’ve cracked the secret…
beetroot salad with blood orange dressing
1 bunch of baby beetroots, leaves and stalks set aside
100g goat’s curd or soft goat’s cheese
½ cup toasted hazelnuts
1 blood orange
¼ cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tsp olive oil
pinch sea salt
Place beetroots in saucepan of cold water over high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes or until the beetroot are tender.
Drain and set aside to cool briefly. Pop on some rubber gloves to prevent staining your hands, then peel and quarter the beets.
Thoroughly wash the beetroot leaves to remove any grit and discard any older leaves. Trim the remaining leaves so that only a few inches of stalk remain on each.
Using a sharp knife, cut away the ends and rind from the blood orange to expose the inner fruit. Carefully slice out the segments between the membranes, halve and set aside.
For the dressing, place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until fully emulsified. Taste and season accordingly.
To assemble the salad, gently toss together the leaves, beetroot quarters and orange segments in a large bowl.
Scatter with hazelnuts and dot with goat’s curd. Finally, drizzle the dressing over the top just before serving.