- 3 or 4 medium beets, roasted, peeled and cooled (see note below)
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, preferably fior di latte or mozzarella di bufala, well chilled and cut into thin slices
- 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Ruby grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Pinch of ground cardamom
- Pinch of sugar
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper in a mill
- 1 avocado, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
- Best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley or cilantro, chopped
Cut the beets into thin rounds, using a very sharp knife or a mandoline. Arrange them in concentric circles on a large platter or individual plates. Tuck slices of mozzarella here and there between the slices of beets, scatter the grapefruit zest on top, and set aside briefly.
Put the grapefruit juice, vinegar, cardamom, sugar and a few generous pinches of kosher salt into a small bowl and agitate the bowl so that the sugar and salt dissolve. Add several turns of black pepper and pour over the beets and cheese.
Arrange the avocado over the beets and cheese and drizzle about 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil over everything.
Top with parsley or cilantro, a bit of salt and a few turns of black pepper and enjoy right away.
NOTE: To roast beets, preheat oven to 400°F. Set the beets in an ovenproof pan, add about ¼ inch of water and set on the middle rack of the oven. Cook until the beets are tender when pierced with a bamboo skewer. Remove from oven, cool slightly, remove the skins with your fingers and refrigerate until ready to use.
VARIATION: For a quicker Winter Caprese, or if you do not care for beets, use very thinly sliced watermelon radishes in place of the beets. Use the same dressing or make a simple radish vinaigrette. To do so, combine a small minced shallot with a minced red or French Breakfast radish, a pinch or 2 of salt, 1 tablespoon of Champagne vinegar, a few turns of black pepper and 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Pour over the salad and finish with 2 tablespoons snipped chives.