Spring is a time for raw and lightly prepared vegetables. Heavy and sodium-rich foods clog the liver and cause your energy to sink, and are best avoided in favor of young, raw, and sprouted foods. Spring cooking should also emphasize shorter cooking times, but at higher temperatures. A quick sauté, steam, or simmer at high heat is best. This makes salads a fabulous choice, and selecting ingredients that improve organ functions for spring provides even more benefits.
Citrus fruits such as grapefruit assist in breaking down oils and fats which takes some of the workload off the gall bladder, and its bitter sweetness is also beneficial for optimal liver function. This makes grapefruit particularly suited to assist in the transition to spring, which focuses on balancing liver and gallbladder functions.
Young beets are classified as a sweet food, and these and other sweet starchy vegetables are especially desirable during this time. Beets purify the blood and improve circulation. Used to treat liver stagnation and other liver ailments, beets are very helpful in spring liver cleansing.
Roasted Baby Beets with Greens and Grapefruit Salad
6 small garden beets with greens attached
1 medium ruby red grapefruit
1/4 cup red wine [or other] vinegar
1 medium shallot, minced very fine
1/3 cup light olive oil
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Cut green tops off beets, trim any thick stalks, wash greens, dry thoroughly, and coarsely chop. Put greens in bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate.
3. Scrub the beets, trimming any extra tops or roots, then place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle oil over beets to coat well, then fold the foil up to form a sealed packet around the beets. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until fork tender. Remove and let cool until skins pull away smoothly, then slice into wedges.
4. While the beets are roasting, peel the grapefruit, making sure you remove all the white pithy coating. With a sharp paring knife, remove each segment, making sure you do not include any of the skin. Do this over a bowl so you can capture the juice. Set the segments and juice aside.
5. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the reserved grapefruit juice, the red wine vinegar, and the shallots. When combined, start pouring in olive oil, whisking steadily until creamy, then continue whisking and add the salt, pepper, and thyme, whisking until just combined.
6. To assemble the salad, place the cold beet greens on salad plates, top with beets, then with grapefruit segments. Drizzle the vinaigrette dressing over the top of each salad, then adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper if desired.
7. Serve immediately.