Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Autumn Leaves Salad
Here’s a cheery salad that celebrates autumn, easy enough for any dinner and festive enough for the holiday table.
Steamed golden beets rest on a bed of peppery arugula and baby greens. Gorgeous blood oranges are braised and black plums are roasted to soften and intensify their flavors. Crisp pungent French radishes balance the fruits' sweetness, and a light sprinkle of pine nuts adds a buttery crunch.
Together, these different flavors and textures play off one another. Visually, the splash of bright colors promises to brighten anyone’s spirits, that may still be lamenting the passing of summer. Autumn leaves salad is a playful, delightful dish that can entice even fussy eaters.
Prep time 15 minutes Cooking time 30 minutes Serves 4
1 large or 2 medium golden beets, peeled, sliced, steamed, cut into oak leaves with a cookie cutter
3-4 black or red plums, halved and pitted, roasted and sliced
3-4 blood oranges, peeled, braised in a splash of dry white wine or dry vermouth
¼ pound of baby spinach or tatsoi
¼ pound of baby arugula
3-4 French or other small salad radishes, sliced
¼ cup pine nuts or crumbled walnuts
- Add a sprinkling of nonpareil capers for salinity and acidity
- Thinly spice a few scallion greens and toss in ice water to create scallion curls and scatter a few on top
- If you grow herbs, toss on a few young tender leaves and/or flowers from mint, chive, nepitella, thyme
To Dress or Not to Dress?
Each element of this salad carries so much flavor, I rather enjoy tasting each one’s distinct flavor without covering it with a dressing, but if you prefer a dressing, mix the juice of a blood orange with a small dollop of Dijon mustard. If it is too strong for your tastes, add just a drizzle of water or plant-based milk.
Peel the beets. Use a mandolin or sharp knife to slice them about 1/8- 3/16” thick. Steam until just tender but take care not to overcook them. Using a leaf-shaped cookie cutter, if you have one, cut each slice into decorative leaves. Set aside.
Cut plums in half and pit. Roast for 20 minutes in a 400°F/204°C oven or until they soften and nectar collects on top. Brush the juices over each fruit and bake for a final 5 minutes. Do not overbake or the plums will be too soft to slice. Cool. Slice ¼” thick. Set aside.
Roll oranges, pressing them firmly on a hard surface to help release their juices. Peel, removing as much of the white pith as possible. In a heated non-stick skillet, lightly brown both sides of the sections over a medium flame. Add a splash of wine or vermouth and cover, in effect, poaching the sections to rehydrate and soften. Set aside.
Plate the Salad
On a large serving platter or individual plates, first lay down a bed of your mixed raw greens.
Arrange the beets as alternating leaves on a branch.
Decoratively place the plum slices, orange sections and radish slices.
Lightly scatter some pine nuts across the surface.
Add your adornments, like the herb leaves and flowers, the capers, scallion curls etc.
Dressed or undressed, this colorful, nutritious salad will delight the senses.