William Werner tossed this salad together for us when Alison, Lawrence & Ann, and I visited with him during the early days of Craftsman & Wolves and Outfit Generic in San Francisco. It was stunningly beautiful and incredibly delicious, so I snapped a photo and quickly scribbled down his one sentence instruction when I asked about the dressing.
Here is my interpretation of William’s salad: cooked beets with orange, fennel, hazelnuts and a dressing of crème fraîche, mayo, and lemon juice. You can cook the beets any way you like, roasting in the oven, or my new favorite technique, sous vide with the Joule.
Salad of Beets and Oranges
adapted from William Werner
- 1 or 2 bunches beets, about 6 each bunch, different colors are nice you may not use them all in the salad, but get them cooked and you can use them another time
- 2 oranges peeled and sliced
- 1 fennel bulb and fronds thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- flake salt for finishing
- 2 tbsp crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise Best Foods or Just Mayo
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
In Advance: Cook the beets by roasting in the oven or with sous vide
For oven roast: preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut off beet greens leaving 1 inch stems, leave root end in place. Scrub clean with water and place in glass baking dish. Add water to about 1/4 inch, cover tightly with foil, and bake for about 45 minutes, until beets are fork-tender. When cool enough to handle, peel then slice into rounds or cut pole-to-pole into 8 wedges (or some of each). Cook several even if you only use a few for this salad, you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.
For sous vide: Trim off the roots and greens, wash and peel the beets. Place the beets in a sous vide bag (I kept the yellow beets separate from the red by using two bags) and drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil and a couple teaspoons of wine vinegar.
For bags, the FoodSaver vacuum sealer and bags work really well, but you can use a zip-lock freezer bag or silicone Stasher bag—just keep in mind that the bag's color will never be the same after your cook red beets in it. Heat the water with the Joule, add the beet bags (positioning them so that they are submerged, sometimes I use a clip attached to side of the pot, here's an image to help: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBWoUkxpOX2/), and cook at 185° for 2 hours (for 2-inch beets). Remove from water bath, let cool, and refrigerate until you are ready to make the salad.
Toast the hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350° F. Put hazelnuts on a rimmed sheet pan or pie plate and bake until they turn fragrant and the skins darken and begin to blister, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a clean "working" kitchen towel (the skins will stain) and rub with your hands to remove some of the skins. Set aside to cool completely. (You may not use all of these, keep the remaining in a jar at room temperature and enjoy them throughout the week.)
Mix the Dressing
Mix together the dressing ingredients in a jar or small bowl.
Compose the Salad
Arrange on a platter or plate: fennel bulb slices on the bottom, beets, oranges, hazelnuts, fennel fronds, drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with flake salt.