I feel like this is a stupidly simple recipe, but it is so delicious and bursting with fresh flavors that it absolutely deserves the word “recipe” attached to it. The colors alone should make you wanna dive in, but if that’s not enough just wait until you buzz up the lemon balm with the honey and citrus to pour over those juicy slices of grapefruit, mandarins and beets.
If by any chance you cannot find any lemon balm, do not worry yourself about it too much, just use fresh mint leaves instead or even basil. Also feel free to use whatever citrus tickles your taste buds the most. Go for dramatic blood oranges if you can find them, balance them with some sweet Mayer lemons and a few slices of limes, and go super crazy with drizzles of the lemon balm pesto.
If you plan on making this for a party, Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I would suggest slicing everything the night before and plate individual servings the day of. One slice of each of the citrus, topped with a slice of the red beets and a generous drizzle of the pesto.
You might want to roast a batch of beets at once and refrigerate them for later use. Experiment with golden beets as well, they would look absolutely gorgeous on top of some blood orange slices and even the red grapefruit.
Come to think of it maybe you should also double the pesto…I find myself double dipping in this one; better to have leftovers than to run out.
If you have any goat cheese on hand, I would definitely crumble a little bit over the top.
- For The Lemon Balm Pesto
- 1 leaves bunch Lemon Balm only
- Lemon zest from 1 lemon organic
- Lemon juice from 1 lemon organic
- 1/3 c Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c Pine nuts toasted
- 1-2 tbsp wild raw Honey to your taste
- A pinch of sea salt
- For The Salad
- 1 red grapefruit
- 1 white grapefruit
- 1 sweet orange or mandarin
- 2 red beets
To make the lemon balm pesto, add all the pesto ingredients to the bowl of a small food processor and purée until incorporated but still has some texture from the pine nuts. Adjust seasonings to your taste with more lemon and honey and spoon over the citrus and beets.
Rinse the beets well, remove the green parts and save for later use. Preheat your oven to 400"F and wrap each beet individually in some aluminum foil. Arrange them on an oven proof tray/dish and bake for approximately 1 hour until cooked through when pierced with a knife. Let the beets cool off until safe enough to handle. To avoid staining your hands use kitchen plastic gloves to remove the skins off the beets, they should come right off. Slice the beets Into 1/4" thick slices and refrigerate until ready to use.
Using a sharp knife peel the citrus fruit. Slice them into 1/2 inch rounds and arrange them on a platter, bigger slices on the bottom and smaller slices on top, alternating colors for effect. Top them with the sliced beets and spoon some of the lemon balm pesto over the top. Alternatively you can arrange individual serving plates for each guest at the dinner table.
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