Sunday, March 30, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Salad with Beets Three Ways

while visiting NYC, mindy and i ate at a great little spot on 6th Ave, called Tertulia.  We ordered a salad with beets three ways, because it looked interesting on the menu, and when it arrived, i was overjoyed at the little party the beets had on my tastebuds.  it featured a delicious combo of pickled, smoked and raw beets in an arugula salad with a citrus vinaigrette.  when we got home i decided i wanted to remake it.  online, i found tertulia's chef making his beet salad on  but i found the recipe and video to be quite uninformative, and more or less, useless.  so, using what info i could gather from martha's page, i just jumped in with what i remembered about the salad.  the main thing is the beets and the dressing, but there are some other little yummy morsels in there that just set it off.


3-4 large beets
1 carrot
basil, sliced thinly
pistachios (roasted)
juice from 1/2 grapefruit
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c and 2tbsp EVOO
1/3 c and 2 tbsp champagne vinegar and 2 more tbsp 
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 c water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp ground mustard seed


Beets prep

for this dish there is a bit of work, because you have to prepare your beets, but once they are prepped, you can keep them for quite a while in the fridge and make this salad as regularly as you want to (same goes for the vinaigrette).  before i start i know i'm going to use raw beets too, but not very much.  they are mostly a garnish and a bit of crunch added to the salad.  so before i prep my beets for their separate cooking methods.  i take about 10 mandolin slices off of one.  also go ahead and mandolin slice the carrot as well.  then throw the beet and carrot slices into an ice bath.  this will keep them crunchy and punchy.

Roasted and Smoked
pre-heat oven to 350.  wash half the beets and remove greens.  place in a baking pan.  drizzle with some olive oil.  drizzle with champagne vinegar.  salt and pepper to taste.  roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes.  when they are done, let them cool a bit, then gently peel away the outer skin with a paring knife.  then cut them into even-sized cubes.

if you have a smoker on your grill, use it.  if not.  make a ghetto one out of aluminum foil pans.  i use 3 pans.  the first one, i poke holes in the bottom, then layer my beet cubes evenly across the bottom.  the 2nd tray gets the fire.  i use bamboo skewers.  break them, shred them, and set them ablaze.  once they are burning and producing smoke, place the tray with the beets over the top.  smother the fire with the tray to produce more smoke.  then cover the beets with the 3rd tray to trap the smoke.  smoke for about 10-15 minutes.  

while you've got your half of your beets in the oven, prep the other half for the pickle.  peel and cube (or slice) your beets.

pickle recipe (this is my main pickle for beets, but you can replace the champagne vinegar with white wine or balsamic, or whatever else to punch up the flavor of the acidity.  i find that 100% apple cider vinegar in the pickle in not nearly as delicious as halving it and using a more flavorful vinegar in its stead)
1/3 c champagne vinegar 
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 c water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp ground mustard seed

add chopped beets and pickle ingredients to a pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer.  it typically takes about 20 minutes for the beets to reach an al dente state, but really it depends on how you cut them.  bigger chunks will take a bit longer, smaller is take a bit less time.  test as you go.


1 clove of garlic
juice from 1/2 a grapefruit
1/4 c olive oil
2 tbsp champagne vinegar

add juice from half a grapefruit and minced clove of garlic.  whisk.  add in the olive oil and continue whisking.  add in the vinegar and continue whisking until emulsified.

Putting it all Together

in a big mixing bowl, add arugula, a handful of fresh chopped basil, the pickled and smoked beets, the carrot and raw beet slices, and a handful of roasted pistachios.  add vinaigrette and toss together, coating everything as consistently as you can.

as a delicious garnish, i like to pan fry a slice of brie.  i get my iron skillet and a bit of coconut oil super hot.  then i fry the piece of soft cheese.  the trick is to get the pan really hot, so the outside will get a slight crust on it before it totally melts into the pan.  add the piece of brie to the salad as a beautiful and delicious sidebar garnish.

fried brie

this takes about an hour to prepare from start to finish, but it's totally worth it if you like beets and interesting flavor combinations.  this isn't quite what we had at Tertulia, but it is damn close and damn good.  give it a try.  i like to serve this with a side of a fried fish cake of some kind.  try it with a side of salmon patties or crab cakes.

the second time we made this salad, we added some red clover sprouts we had been growing 

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