Ambrosia salad, with its luscious fruit medley, creamy textures, and delicate sweetness, is a beloved Southern classic. You can easily find it at potlucks, holiday parties, or even weeknight dinners, accompanying a hearty main course while also doubling as a playful dessert. A fruit salad at the core, it typically features mandarin oranges, pineapples, and shredded coconuts. Surprisingly, the key to elevating this dish to an entirely new level lies in a humble root vegetable — beets.
Although seemingly off-kilter at first, beets' earthy sweetness is an exceptional addition to ambrosia salad. It melds right into the creamy, fruity sweet notes while still standing out enough to give the dish a special intrigue. Once cooked, beets develop a subtle caramelized undertone that leaves a delightful aftertaste on the palate. Each bite is a burst of deep, intricate flavors, made all the more enticing by the mushy, tender textural interplay.
The enhancement doesn't stop at the flavors, either. Bejeweled with ruby cubes of beets, your ambrosia salad is a total visual stunner. The deep hue gorgeously stands out amongst the other fruits' brighter pops of colors. Altogether, they're an eye-catching kaleidoscope that colors the dining table with a whole lot of wonders.
More Than Just A Simple Addition
Beets can be enjoyed raw, although they will have a bitter undertone that some may find to be unpleasant. A quick roast will solve this while also bringing out the natural sweetness and greatly intensifying the natural flavors. You can even season the beets with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, vinegar, or citrus juice. Sometimes, it's the little details that make all the difference.
While you're in the mood for changes, keep the momentum going by adding other ingredients as well. Introduce an extra crunch to the textural party with crunchy celery, water chestnuts, fennel, or toasted nuts and seeds. Flavor-wise, you can boost the zesty magic by adding other citrus fruits like grapefruits and tangerine. For those who like a mild tart taste to cut through all that rich sweetness, reach for berries and grapes. A few crumbles of goat cheese or feta cheese aren't so bad either, especially if you want a hint of tanginess to linger in the aftertaste.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.