I’ve got to squeeze in the end-of-Winter-citrus recipes before Spring blankets us in sweet peas, strawberries, and rhubarb!
There are many types of blood oranges, but only two that are widely available in the U.S. – the Moro and the Cara Cara. The Moro blood orange is medium sized and thin-skinned with a purple blush both inside and out. The flesh (and juice) can range from purple to dark red with a raspberry-orange flavor. The juice looks a little like vampire blood but I love it for cocktails and juice pressé. They are great in salads too, but not so easy to segment. Cut or peel the outer skin away and slice into rounds instead of going through the agony of trying to cut out nice wedges.
Cara Cara blood oranges are big and the flesh is a delicate rose color (as pictured above). You might mistake them for Navel oranges because from the outside they look the same but on the inside, you can see and taste the difference. If Ocean Spray was describing the flavor of Cara Caras, I think they’d call it: CranOrange.
Chioggia beets are those magenta colored bulbous roots that have a pink n’ white bullseye if you cut out a cross section. They are super cool looking shaved thin and served raw in salads – or as a raw chip topped with a little goat cheese. I roasted them here, and they still kept their dramatic stripage. Neato! There’s no reason why you couldn’t use whatever color beet is available. Chioggias were growing at Pie Ranch for an event I catered, so I happily used them up!
I added a splash of orange blossom water to the white balsamic vinaigrette for fragrance. To me, orange blossom is just one of the most beautiful scents on earth and the distilled water pairs well with sweeter dishes and with a little acidity.
More recipes on Beets and Blood Oranges:
Chicken Pumpkin Mole (This post has a side salad with Moro Blood Oranges)
- 4-5 medium beets (chioggia, golden, or red), roasted and cut into wedges
- 2 cara cara blood oranges, segmented
- 1 small fennel, shaved thin on a mandolin
- 2 parsley sprigs, leafed
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoons orange blossom water
- Sea Salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Maldon salt for garnishing
Preheat Oven to 425˚F
Trim leaves off beets and reserve for another purpose. Give beets a rinse to remove any extra soil, but do not peel the skins off. Place them in a small roasting pan with 1/4 cup of water and cover tightly with tin foil. Roast for 30 minutes and then check for done-ness by inserting the tip of a knife into the fattest part of the root. If it slides in easily, they are cooked. Remove beets from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before peeling. The skins should slip right off. Note: it is easier to peel beets while they are hot – so don't let them cool off too much. Cut into wedges and reserve.
To segment the cara cara: if you really don't care about the white pithy casing then just peel the orange and pull apart to segment. If you do care (because you want to show off the rose colored flesh) then cut off both the top and bottom of the orange just until you can see the tops of the segments. Place the orange standing upright on a cutting board. Using a small sharp utility knife cut off the skin and casing from top to bottom following the curve of the orange. Once you have skinned your orange down to the flesh, then cut out the segments by holding the orange in one hand and cutting a 'v' through to the core inbetween each segment casing. Don't worry, it gets easier after you've done a million times...kind of....
For the vinaigrette you really need to know your white balsamic. Sometimes white balsamic is so good it's drinkable and sometimes it's as acidic as battery acid. So adjust these measurements as needed and if your white balsamic is undrinkable then substitute with rice wine vinegar. In a small bowl add the orange blossom water, the white balsamic vinegar, a big pinch of sea salt and two twists of freshly ground white pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly while whisking furiously. Taste and adjust seasoning and acidity ratio.
I dress my beets and oranges separately because the color of beets can bleed – which looks great in the vinaigrette, I love that broken paint look – but not no good when oranges look like they've been murdered. Arrange dressed orange & beet wedges and shaved fennel. Dot with some small parsley leaves. Add a few sprinkles of crunchy Maldon sea salt. Done!