Thursday, October 25, 2007


Beet & Watermelon Salad with Sherry Wine Vinaigrette

At this time of year, summer and fall always struggle for domination in Southern California.

Sure, the calendar says it's October, yet, the mercury hovers at 90F.

The days are short, and pumpkins are in the market, but we are warm and want light foods. Despite our inner thoughts begging otherwise...

Me, I have an entire shelf of clingy sweaters waiting to be worn, but in the meantime, I clothe myself little dresses in earthy colors and look longingly at my boots, wondering how many more days I have to savor wearing sandals. I have a arsenal of recipes featuring squash and peppers, apples and pears, perched on the precipice, yearning to be tried out, but alas, they just don't seem to match the climate. How can I eat soup on days like this...and yet, how can I resist?

The's just so like L.A. Can't decide which we want, so we take both. Warm and cool, up and down, waxing and waning. It's all good by us.

Like this salad. At first glance, it's the absolutely strangest combination of textures, colors and seasons, and works flawlessly. The dense, earthy beets, the lightness of the watermelon. And since watermelons at this point in the autumn are more texture than flavor, the sharp-sweet dressing is the perfect accessory for these dainty foods. And bonus, the watermelon takes on an astonishingly vivid hue when mingling with the beets.

So despite the calendar and the weather report, when it comes to this dish, summer and autumn are tied. For now.

Try it, and enjoy

3 large beets
Olive oil
1 small, seedless watermelon
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
large pinch black pepper
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
Goat cheese and black pepper for garnish

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Coat the beets with olive oil. Place in an oven proof dish. Add 1/4 inch water to the pan. Add some salt to that water. Cover the pan with foil, and roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, (up to three, depending on the size off the beets.) until a knife can be inserted into one with ease. When done, remove from the oven, leaving in the pan. Uncover and let cool completely, before trimming the root end off and slipping off the skins. Dice into even pieces. (You may want to wear gloves while doing this. Beets do stain after all...)

In a blender, combine the vinegar, thyme, mustard and sugar. Blend and while the blender is on, add the olive oil. Stop half way through, and taste. Add more oil as needed. Season with salt and set aside until ready to finish the salad.

Peel and dice the watermelon to the same size dice as the beets. Toss the two together with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a sprinkling of goat cheese.

Serves four


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My boyfriend keeps telling me about this wonderful beetroot and watermelon salad he had in Northern Africa few years ago. I think I'll surprise him with your version soon:)
Leave it to the #1 and #2 beet people in food blog land to comment here first -- beets and watermelon, beets and watermelon. It's easy to wrap my eyes around this but my brain is objecting. Requires a taste test, for sure!
Pille - I hope you do!

Alanna - I know, I KNOW. I was SO skeptical...but I have to say, it really works. The watermelon (especially this time of year) just absorbs the beet color and the dressing, making it more like a texture addition than anything else (kinda like jicama. But easier to bite into). I think next time I might slice intead of making cubes, but I really do recommend it!
Mmm! Love beets :)
Glad you found my blog.
Very informative post, got so many useful information about sherry wine. Thanks
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