The day I interviewed Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, the executive chef of Frasca Food and Wine, for this week's Chef and Tell powwow, the kitchen crew had just been graced with a bounty of fresh beets, plucked straight from farm earth.
The beets, in all their glorious, kaleidoscopic hues, are the platform for Frasca's summer beet salad, the recipe of which Mackinnon-Patterson shares here. "You can add aromatics, like thyme or savory, to the recipe" he says, adding, too, that "the beets can be cut into whatever shapes you'd like." Just make sure, he warns, to wear wear rubber gloves, or use a disposable towel that you don't mind staining. Mackinnon-Patterson also recommends saving the trim from the beets to make purees. Beets are readily available at the market, but if you can get them from a farm, definitely do so.
Insalata d'estate (summer salad) Serves 4
2 pounds red beets 2 pounds chioggia beets 2 pounds golden beets 8 mint leaves Zest and juice of 1 lemon Extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Arugula/mizuna for garnish
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. Salt and pepper and generously drizzle olive oil over beets. 2. Wrap beets up by varietal in tinfoil packets. 3. Seal the packets tightly, and roast the beets at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, or until beets are tender. 4. Cool beets completely, and using robber gloves, peel them, saving the trim. 5. Marinate the beets with additional olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. 6. Puree the beet trim, in batches according to color, to make different purees to paint the plate. 7. Put a few dollops of the different beet purees on the plate, arrange the marinated beets, and garnish with some hand-torn mint leaves, lemon zest, and arugula or mizuna tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.