Recipes from the Road – Roasted Beets, Watermelon Radish & Kale Salad

Nothing makes a memorable journey quite like food. After all, life, at its best, is a Moveable Feast – thank you, Ernest Hemingway. When I’m on the road, I love to sample local produce, preferably from a farmer’s market or eat at a local haunt that flies under tourists’ radar. Although some days it’s easier to go for something quick and easy, a simple, yet well-constructed dish can make vanlife all the more delightful. And in your own Regency RV, you have a kitchen that can make it happen in a flash.

In season, fresh and inspiring, I revel in the opportunity to chat with growers at a farmers market. You get local flavor, insight and can uncover what shines brightest in their soil and climate. As it’s still the early days of spring, lots of fruit and veggies are not quite in season yet. Fortunately, many winter vegetables are still thriving and they have come to be some of my favorites – watermelon radishes, candy cane beets and winter kale are readily available at the moment and are the inspiration for today’s recipe. This one is a snap to make in your own Regency RV kitchen and can stand up to anything you’ll find on the road.

Furthermore, if you’ve decided to hit the road for the Lowcountry, as we recommended in our last post, you’ll find no better venue than Port Royal Farmer’s Market, which is held every Saturday morning throughout the year. If not, wherever you travel, I implore you to look up the local markets along your path – I promise it will lend a little something special to your trip.

Today’s recipe is a Roasted Beet, Watermelon Radish and Kale Salad that will put plenty of fuel in your tank for the adventure ahead.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of watermelon radishes
  • 1 pint of assorted beets (golden and candy cane – although red will do the trick)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 clementine or mandarin, zest and juiced
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender
  • 6 strips bacon, cut in lardons (1/4 inch x 1 inch)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt (I used fleur de sel)
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • olive oil

First, clean and scrub your beets and radishes then quarter them with the skins on. Line two ovenware dishes (I use old school corning ware with lids) with foil and drizzle olive oil in the bottom. You can also cook these over an open flame in packets of foil. Place the beets in one dish and the radishes in the other. Grind ½ teaspoon of lavender, sprinkle ½ a teaspoon of salt and 1/3 of your Clementine zest over each dish then drizzle with olive oil. Cover the radishes and beets with foil and then place the lid on top. Cook in the oven at 425 until a fork glides – the radishes will be ready a good 20+ minutes before the beets. Take the radishes out when they’re cooked. Then, when the beets are ready, uncover both of the dishes and broil on high for 3 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the bacon lardons in a skillet (or in the oven) then set aside on a paper towel. While the beets and radishes are cooking, quickly sauté the kale in a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle a teaspoon of lavender, ½ teaspoon of sea salt and the remaining clementine zest over your kale. This should only cook for about two minutes. The last 30 seconds, drizzle the juice from the clementine over the kale and toss. Arrange the kale in salad bowls, top with beets, radishes and bacon then garnish with more lavender and serve.

If you’re looking for a wine to uplift this savory lunch, opt for an Austrian Grüner Veltliner. The bright crisp notes of fresh herbs and radishes in this refreshing yet complex white wine will bring this dish to a whole other level! To top it all off, this is one of the greatest values in the world of white wine.

Happy trails and Bon Appétit!