Finely julienne the vegetables for this colorful salad using the julienne blade on a food processor or a mandolin or Japanese vegetable slicer. If not, use the shredding disk to grate them.
2 bunches of beets
3 long, narrow European seedless cucumbers
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
8 large carrots
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons minced chives or scallion greens
Watercress, for garnish
Heat the oven to 375°F. Trim the stems off the beets, leaving about 3 inches attached. Wash the beets and wrap in heavy-duty foil. Bake in the oven for 1 to 1¼ hours, or until just tender but still firm. Let cool; then trim and peel.
Julienne the cucumbers in a food processor or on a mandoline. Put in a bowl and toss with the salt. Let stand for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the other vegetables.
Peel the carrots and julienne them. Place in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Julienne the beets. Put them in a separate bowl and toss with the orange zest, orange juice, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, the remaining 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Drain the cucumbers; pat dry on paper towels. Put the cucumbers in another bowl and toss with the rice vinegar, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, chives, and the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.
To assemble, arrange mounds of carrots, beets, and cucumbers on a large platter or on individual plates. Set a few sprigs of watercress in the center for garnish.