This salad always me think of emeralds, rubies and gold. It could be a special salad for any festive occasion, but, in reality, save this jewel for a simpler time. How about a day or two after a huge meal or family gathering? When all the fuss is done. It is perfect for a day when there is more time to enjoy this little beauty paired with something simple. Perhaps a slice of chicken or a little chunk of meatloaf ... or on a summer's day when all you crave is an amazing little salad all by itself. What an ornament it makes then!!
Of course, a salad has no feelings. It is silly to consider that, but..somehow I almost feel sorry for wilted, drooping lettuce as I try to salvage an untouched masterpiece at meal's end. What a waste. It's gotta be tough to be a salad ... any salad ... on a Thanksgiving table or at a Christmas feast.... forget it! Surrounded by too much turkey, potatoes, fancy veggies.... and don't forget...leave room for dessert !!!! ohhhh, the "groaning board" of superfluity .... Let's celebrate salad, especially this salad, on its own merit.... or at least just with something kind of .. uhm... simple or lacking or clever.
Use any greens that have some daintiness to them and that appeal to you.... I usually try to find a bag of baby greens or Spring Mix...something interesting that has a bit of radiccio in it to go with the colour of the beets. Add some slices of pickled beets and arrange some peeled slices of orange on top of those (I cut the peel off after making the slices).... add some thinly sliced red onion on top. Choose a flat plate that will enhance the overall appearance. It looks fine in a shallow glass bowl...but see how much more artistic it looks on the large, coloured square?
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (I like to use Rice Vinegar)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp Dijon mustard
optional: a little blob of liquid honey
In a two cup measuring cup or similar size container... pour the orange juice and vinegar. Add the Dijon mustard, whisk all together (the mustard is helpful as a binder to keep the vinaigrette from separating). Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking the full time.... again to prevent separation of the liquids. I like to add a bit of sweet basil, a tiny sprinkle of salt and some honey...then whisk vigorously once more. If you don't have a tiny whisk...a fork will work just fine. I don't bother taking out or cleaning my whisk for this. If you don't need this much vinaigrette...just halve it.
You will get used to adding and subtracting once you have tried a vinaigrette a few times. It is more or less half and half ...oil and acidic .... sometimes I make a great lemon vinaigrette as well.... with honey and mustard as well. You can have a bit less lemon, a bit more honey... so that it is not too "puckery". I like to play with my own versions so I can control the salt and have no preservatives. Still have not found a bottled salad dressing that I like. Okay...there you go.... play with your food. Its more fun that way isn't it?