A seasonal salad full of citrus, invigorating mint, and a touch of sweetness from both the beets and drops of orange-flower water.
Adapted from "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" by Suzanne Goin.
*Note: Save the leaves for sautéing later — they are delicious!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the beets with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Place the beets in a roasting pan with a splash of water in the bottom. Cover tightly with foil, and roast about 40 minutes, or until tender when pierced. (The roasting time will depend on the size and type of beet.)
When the beets are done, carefully remove the foil. Let them cool, and then peel them by slipping off the skins with your fingers. Cut them into ½-inch wedges.
Slice the stem and bottom ends from the tangerines. Stand the tangerines on one end and, following the contour of the fruit with your knife, remove the peel and cottony white pith. Work from top to bottom, rotating the fruit as you go.
Then hold each tangerine over a bowl and carefully slice between the membranes and the fruit to release the segments in between. Discard the seeds and reserve the juice.
Combine the diced shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, ¼ cup tangerine juice (from segmenting the citrus), and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl, and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup olive oil, and a drop or 2 of orange flower-water (be careful, it can be overpowering; a little goes a long way). Taste for balance and seasoning.
Toss the beets in a bowl with half the vinaigrette and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.
Arrange half the beets on a large chilled platter, and place half the tangerines among the beets. Scatter half the mint over the salad. Follow with the rest of the beets, tangerines, and mint. Sprinkle a few drops of orange-flower water over the salad.