This colorful salad of beets and pomegranate seeds set off by deep green watercress and baby lettuces is a staple of Christmas Eve feasts in Mexico. The optional creamy goat cheese or queso fresco adds a contemporary touch. Although a holiday specialty, this salad is refreshing during any season the ingredients are available.
- 2 medium-size red beets, trimmed
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 6 cups baby lettuces, watercress, or arugula or a mixture of all three
- 1 small (about 1-pound) jicama, peeled and cut into thin strips
- 2 Valencia or Navel oranges, peeled and cut into segments
- CITRUS-JALAPENO VINAIGRETTE
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 ounces goat cheese or queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wrap each beet in a piece of aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast the beets until very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, let the beets cool completely, unwrap, and then use a clean, old towel (one that you don't mind getting stained red) or sturdy paper towels to rub off the skin. Cut the beets into thin strips. While the beets are cooking, cover the raisins with warm water in a small bowl and let them stand for 10 minutes until plumped. Drain and blot dry.
Preheat a toaster oven to 350°F. Toast the pine nuts in the baking tray for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown, shaking the pan occasionally and watching that they don't burn. Set aside. Alternatively, cook in a skillet over medium-high heat, shaking the pan often.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce with the beets, raisins, jicama, and orange segments. Toss gently to mix.
MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, orange and lime juices, mustard, honey, and jalapeño chile. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and whisk vigorously until emulsified. Immediately pour about half of the vinaigrette over the salad, and toss gently.
Arrange the salad on a serving platter or individual plates and top with the pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, cilantro, and cheese. Serve immediately and pass the remaining dressing at the table.
Print this recipe