Spring has finally sprung! For the team at Culinary Capers, a new season means we are busy creating new and re-imagining favourite spring menus that embrace the fresh flavours of our local seasonal ingredients. This month we are taking salad to a whole new level. It’s light, vibrant and a perfect appetizer for your Easter table.
Tartare of Multicoloured Beets
1 lb red and yellow beets
2 Tbsp currants
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ cup water
½ bulb fennel (large)
4 Tbsp brined walnuts or regular raw walnuts (recipe below), broken or chopped lightly
¼ cup honey tarragon vinaigrette (recipe below)
fine sea salt to taste
Bring a medium pot of water to a low boil on the stove top and season with a generous amount of salt.
Cook beets until tender.
Once they are cool enough to handle, remove skin. (Use latex gloves to save your hands from stains).
Dice cooked beets in ¼ inch squares.
Shave fennel very thin on a mandolin* and place in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes until crisp. Drain well on a paper towel.
Shave radishes (very thin) on a mandolin.*
*Note: a sharp knife will also work.
In a small saucepan over low heat poach currants till plump and tender in water, sherry vinegar and sugar (approximately 5 to 8 minutes).
Toss beets and shaved fennel separately in vinaigrette so the beets do not ‘bleed’ onto the fennel.
Arrange beets on the centre of the plate, top with walnuts, currants, fennel and lastly, shaved radishes.
Honey Tarragon Vinaigrette (makes extra)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
Brined Walnuts (optional – raw walnuts are fine to use)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp fine sea salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 sprigs rosemary
¾ cup walnut halves
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Boil half the water, dissolve in salt and sugar. Add remaining water and rosemary sprigs.
Pour over walnuts. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain.
Spread walnuts on a bake sheet and toast in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until completely dry and a very light golden brown.
Chef tip: optional garnish
Here is a fun way to add modern interest to the salad.
Take: ½ long English cucumber, 1 peeled carrot, ¼ peeled daikon
Using a mandolin shave cucumber, carrot and daikon into paper thin strips, then roll to form tubes of varying heights and colours.
If you don’t have a mandolin, use a vegetable peeler.
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Photo: Executive Chef Margaret Chisholm