2 pounds beets
1 fresh bay leaf
4 spears asparagus, cut into 1-inch spears
1 orange, segmented, juices reserved
1 small red onion, half moons
1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼ inch lardon (optional)
8 ounces baby arugula
½ teaspoon spring garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs thyme
In a stock pot, place beets, bay leaf and one sprig thyme. Cover with water by at least 1 inch. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender and the beets can slide easily off a knife. Once finished, cool just enough to touch and peel skins off. Cut into ½ inch cubes.
Fill a sauté pan with water, about halfway, bring water up to a simmer, season with a pinch of salt and add the asparagus. Blanch for about one minute, until tender, but with a little “snap” left in the center. Remove asparagus and place into an ice bath (shock).
To make the vinaigrette, take a small bowl, add garlic, reserved orange juice, extra virgin olive oil and 1 sprig of thyme (leaves only). Season to taste and whisk together.
In a medium salad bowl, toss together beets, onions, and asparagus with some of the vinaigrette. Add in baby arugula and the orange segments. Toss together gently, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
If using bacon, you can do this step instead of blanching. Bring a sauté pan up to a medium heat and add the bacon. Render bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and reserve. Using only some of the bacon fat left in the pan, add the asparagus and roast until tender.
Recipe Property of Brendan McDermott