Mexican Christmas Eve Salad (Ensalada de Noche Buena)

ensalada de noche buena

1 bunch small red beets, or 3 to 4 medium-size beets
1/2 bunch frisee, washed and dried, leaves separated (light green parts only)
1 bunch watercress, trimmed, washed and dried
1 head endive, leaves separated
1 small-medium jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned, juice reserved
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
1/2 cup shelled salted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + salt to taste
1 serrano chile, finely chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice (from segmented oranges)
6 tablespoons mild olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375°. Trim the beats, leaving about 1 inch of stem. Place the beets in a single layer in a glass baking dish, sprinkle lightly with water and wrap the dish in aluminum foil. Roast until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Let the beets cool, then peel and cut into wedges. Set aside.

For the dressing: Combine the shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the chile in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, lime and orange juices. Let sit for a few minutes until the shallots soften. Whisk in the olive oil. Adjust salt to taste.

To finish the salad: Gently toss the frisee, watercress and endive with a few tablespoons of the dressing, just enough to coat. Spread greens on a serving platter or individual plates.

Toss the jicama and oranges with some of the cilantro, a pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of the dressing. Distribute over the greens.

Lightly toss beets with a little dressing and more cilantro (this is done last to keep the colors separate). Scatter over the salad.

Garnish with the peanuts and the pomegranate seeds and another sprinkle of cilantro.

Serves: 6-8

Source: Laurie MacKenzie

Prepared by: Stacey for the November 2008 meeting.