This dish features holiday colors and a variety of textures, from crisp watercress and crunchy pecans to juicy oranges and buttery avocados. To make the most of the presentation, use a combination of red and yellow beets. You can prepare the beets and dressing in advance, then just assemble the salad before serving.
6 large red or yellow beets (about 4 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
2 1/4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large avocado, peeled
3 bunches watercress (about 9 cups trimmed)
3 cups orange sections (about 3 large navel oranges)
3/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Remove root and 1 inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Cut beets in half; place beets in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Add water. Cover with foil, and bake at 375° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool; rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/2-inch slices.
Combine rind and next 6 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl. Toss half of juice mixture with beets.
Cut avocado in half lengthwise. Slice each half into 12 slices. Place watercress on a platter; top with beets, orange sections, onion, and avocado. Drizzle remaining juice mixture over salad, and top with pecans. Serve immediately.