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Published: Tuesday, 12/9/2008

Ensalada Noche Buena Christmas Eve Salad

2 medium-size red beets, trimmed

cup golden raisins

cup pine nuts

6 cups baby lettuces, watercress, or arugula or a mixture of all three

1 small jicama, peeled and cut into thin strips

2 Valencia or Navel oranges, peeled and cut into segments

For Citrus-Jalapeno Vinaigrette:

cup red wine vinegar

cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced

cup olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Seeds from 1 pomegranate

cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

4 ounces goat cheese or queso fresco crumbled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet. Roast beets until very tender when pierced with tip of a knife, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven, let beets cool completely, unwrap, and then use a clean old towel or sturdy paper towel to rub off skin. Cut beets into thin strips. While beets are cooking, cover raisins with warm water in a small bowl and let them stand for 10 minutes until plumped. Drain and blot dry.

Toast pine nuts until golden brown in baking tray for 4 to 5 minutes in 350 degree oven or toaster oven. Shake pan occasionally so they don t burn.

In a large bowl combine lettuce with beets, raisins, jicama, and orange segments. Toss gently to mix.

To make vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, orange and lime juices, mustard, honey, and jalapeno chile. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper and whisk vigorously until emulsified. Immediately pour half of the vinaigrette over salad and toss gently. Arrange salad on serving platter or individual plates and top with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and cheese. Serve immediately and pass remaining dressing at table.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Source: Mod Mex by Dos Caminos chef Scott Linquist and Joanna Pruess



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