Wood-Roasted Beets with Oranges and Whipped Ricotta


Photo by Michael Piazza

Light, fresh and a little bit sweet, this salad veers into dessert territory in the best possible way. Try swapping blood oranges for the navels if you can find them.

Serves 4–6 

4 small navel oranges
4 to 6 medium golden or Chioggia beets
2 to 3 sprigs rosemary
olive oil, for drizzling
2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling
½ cup toasted walnuts, skins rubbed off and chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

Remove the zest from 1 orange and set aside. Cut the zested fruit into ½-inch slices and place in a large bowl with the beets and rosemary sprigs. Drizzle with olive oil, add a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Spread out a large piece of aluminum foil on your workspace and transfer the mixture to the center of the foil. Fold into a packet and use another layer of foil if needed to fully contain and enclose the mixture. Place packet in the coals of the fire for about 1 hour, or until the beets yield easily when poked with the tip of a knife. Set aside.

Place the ricotta in a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer) and mix on medium speed for a minute. Add the cream in a slow stream and beat to combine. Add honey, reserved zest and a pinch of salt. Beat for about 4 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Taste and adjust as needed.

When ready, remove the beets from the coals and discard the oranges and rosemary. Peel the beets and cut them into ¼-inch slices.

Cut the peels off of the remaining oranges and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices. Spread the ricotta in a thick layer on a platter, then arrange the beets and oranges in an alternating layer over the cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil and honey and sprinkle on the walnuts and mint leaves. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

This recipe appeared in the Winter 2019 issue as part of a larger story on winter outdoor cooking.