Heartwood Provisions’ unique twist on a beet salad paired with a bitter-sweet citrus cocktail.
With winter closing in, Heartwood Provisions developmental kitchen is working on new recipes and pairings for our opening menu. Since this time of year is all about comfort, warmth, and family, our first instinct was to create a pairing that borrowed on the familiar, with a bit of warmth, and elevate it to the next level. We are excited and proud to share our beet salad and tequila beverage pairing.
Chef Varin: The Food
“From time to time every chef in Seattle — and beyond — has a beet salad on their menu. For good reason; beets are delicious! As a vegetable that peaks in late summer or fall and can be stored year round (think your grandmother’s root cellar) beets allow chefs to flex their culinary biceps.
For me, the harvesting of root vegetables is a telltale sign that fall and winter are approaching. Soon, salmon will swin up stream, waterfowl will migrate south, elk will roam, and roasts and succulent braises will begin appearing on the table.
And beets lead it all. For my part I wanted to stray away from the expected and lighten up the traditional beet salad. I also wanted to give it a Mediterranean/North African profile. So, we combine beets with chermoula (Moroccan marinade normally used for fish and seafood) for a bright and unique twist. For an ode to the candied nuts seen on many beet salads I transform pistachio (another Mediterranean ingredient) into a Nutella-like praline, then complete the dish with chevre cream, oranges, and spicy watercress.”
Beverage Director Amanda Reed: The Drink
“The approach I take to pairing cocktails revolves around the dish, but this was one of the few times where color inspired the drink. Because I find the bright red of beets especially beautiful, I was determined to create a complimentary drink with the same color. And, since this is a salad and has some citrus, I also wanted a fresh drink with bright flavors.
I decided to make a citrus cocktail using blanco tequila as the base. I wanted to soften the alcohol and add some structure, so I experimented with different vermouths. I found Dolin Blanc was the perfect fit, adding a rich mouthfeel, a touch of sweetness, and a floral wine-like component. To complete this drink, I experimented with different liquors to add complexity. I wanted to use something herbal and bitter to compliment the earth and spice of the dish, but light enough to not overpower the delicate flavors. Meletti 1870 Bitter Liqueur matched these points and has also helped achieve the vermillion color. A touch of honey matched the praline and added some sweetness, while the addition of the lime provided freshness while balancing all the other components.”
Beet Salad Cocktail Pairing
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
½ oz Blanco Tequila
¼ oz Meletti 1870 Bitter Liquor
¼ oz Honey Syrup
¼ oz Lime
Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice. Shake and fine strain into a cocktail glass.
*This cocktail recipe is portioned as a pairing cocktail, double the proportion if you would like a more traditional sized cocktail.
Love working with beets?
Check out some of Chef Varin’s tips on how to prepare and serve fresh beets below:
Beets are an extremely sweet, earthy root, making them the perfect vegetable to showcase on any fall or winter menu. While there are varied methods of preparation, here’s the one that gives them a beautifully balance flavor and texture.
1. When selecting beets, look for heavy, firm and fresh looking beets. Avoid beets that are soft or have significant amounts of bruising. If you get beets with tops attached, fresh looking greens are always a telltale sign of a fresh beet and the tops are delicious fermented or sauteed as well!
2. Cut the tops off of your beets (make sure to save as an ingredient for a delicious salad or saute) and toss whole, in olive oil with a bit of salt.
3. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, place on a sheetpan, and roast at 375f-400f until very tender (approximately 1hr depending on size). This process will give you just the right amount of steam to make the beets edible, but not dried out.
4. Once the tender beets are out of the oven, cool slightly, then peel. The skin should fall off easily in the hand.
5. Toss beets in vinaigrette of your choice, add garnish, and serve.