Who: Chef Robert Marchetti, Co-Owner of Gran Tivoli in Nolita
Why? This is a ripper recipe to show off and look like a chef with minimal fuss. The colors and vibrancy of sweet-sour-salty coupled with the fact it is bursting with flavor and happens to be vegan without trying, makes it the perfect wow starter. Plus, you can pre-prepare it and plate it up in minutes.
1 lb large beets (red only)
Dash of red wine vinegar
Coarse sea salt
1/2 lb raw cashews
2 small shallots, sliced thin into circles
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
3 strawberries, quartered into wedges
Baby red sorrel
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and grate large beets and place into a medium sized pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Strain the beets, discarding the solids, and place the liquid back into a clean pan and simmer and reduce until one tenth of the original volume (dressing should coat the back of a spoon when dipped in). Add a dash of red wine vinegar to adjust the flavor.
Start by washing all your beets extremely well under cold running water.
Dry with a damp cloth. Prepare an oven tray lined with coarse salt and then covered with foil. Place the beets on top of foil and cover again with another layer of foil and bake for about 45 minutes until tender. To check this, pock a small knife or skewer into the center to see if it’s soft throughout, then remove and allow to cool.
Once roasted, we can proceed to peel the beets. I would advise wearing gloves to avoid staining your hands as beet is hard to remove. Once peeled, cut the beets into quarter wedges.
Place raw cashews into a container and cover with cold water. Refrigerate and allow to sit in water for at least an hour. Strain off liquid and place cashews into a food processor. Process until a fine consistency, adding fresh cold water if needed. Season with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Refrigerate.
To assemble your salads, take about a dessert spoon’s worth of the cashew cheese and spread it into a circle in the middle of the plate. Next, place the roasted beetroots around, filling in the whole circle in one layer, alternating red and gold.
In a mixing bowl, add shallots and strawberries and season well with lemon vinaigrette (alternatively use lemon juice and olive oil). Mix together well and place a small pile on top of the beets. Arrange the baby sorrel on top of the salad. Drizzle the beet dressing all over, you want some of the juice to run down the salad and around the base of the plate.