Chefs offer talk, tips in Best of the Best
Beet Salad with Mango, Feta, Orange and Mint, from The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best | Photo by Susie Cushner, reprinted with permission of Chronicle Books, LLC
Beet Salad with Mango, Feta,
Orange and Mint
2 large red and golden beets, washed but not peeled 2 tablespoons olive oil Coarse salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 oranges, peeled and separated into segments 1 tablespoon minced shallots 4 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled into large pieces (approximately 1 cup) 1 ripe mango, cut into medium dice Microgreens, for garnish (optional) Vinaigrette 4 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 oranges, peeled and separated into segments
1 tablespoon minced shallots
4 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled into large pieces (approximately 1 cup)
1 ripe mango, cut into medium dice
Microgreens, for garnish (optional)
41/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, toss the beets with the oil and season them with the salt and pepper. Put the beets on a roasting pan and cover them with foil. Roast in the oven until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (They are done when a sharp, thin-bladed knife can easily pierce through to their center.) Remove the pan from the oven, remove the beets from the pan and set them aside to cool.
While the beets are roasting, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
When they are cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut them into 1/2-inch dice. Put them in a bowl with 1 cup of the orange segments, the mint and the shallots. Add the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently.
Transfer the salad to a platter.
Arrange the cheese, mango dice and the remaining orange sections on top.
Garnish with microgreens, if desired, and serve.
Updated: June 22, 2012 11:50AM
The late James Beard, hailed as the dean of American cooking, left a legacy that celebrates the nation’s rich melting pot cuisine as “one of the most fascinating culinary subjects of all.” And since its creation in 1986, the James Beard Foundation has nurtured the country’s most creative chefs.
A new book by Kit Wohl, The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best (Chronicle, $60), spotlights 21 outstanding culinary talents, including Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Alice Waters, Daniel Boulud and Tom Colicchio.
Three renowned Chicago-based Beard Award winners — Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless and Grant Achatz — also are highlighted.
Though the handsome volume would dress up any coffee table, its 240 pages contain a number of approachable recipes. In addition, readers will find behind-the-scenes snapshots of the high-energy chefs and insights on what makes them tick.
For instance, Wohl quotes Trotter, summing up the chef’s philosophy: “It’s important to try as hard as you can. At the same time, human failings are appealing and beautiful because you learn so much from them. If one knows nothing but success, one can become complacent.”
Mexican cooking authority Bayless, who operates Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, tells readers: “I tend to have a lot of focus, a lot of passion, when I’m doing something. Usually I work on one thing to the exclusion of everything else until I’m done.”
Alinea, classically trained Achatz’s avant-garde restaurant, blends dining with performance art. “We’re trying to break the monotony of not only food technique, presentation and preparation, but the emotional response that you have,” the chef is quoted.
These top chefs each contributed recipes, too.
Trotter offers an involved recipe for Squab Breast with French Breakfast Radish Confit, Black Sesame Puree and Annato Gastrique. Achatz serves up Hot Potato, Cold Potato, Black Truffle, Parmesan. And Bayless shares a recipe for Smoky Peanut Mole with Grilled Quail.
Though all three recipes are intriguing, their execution probably is best left to professionals.
Alfred Portale, 2006 Beard Award winner for his work as chef at Gotham Bar and Grill in New York, attributes his success to offering a menu that’s consistently “creative, fresh and contemporary” complemented by well-tuned service.
He presents a quite doable recipe for Beet Salad with Mango, Feta, Orange and Mint, which is a fine example of the style and philosophy his nearly 30-year-old restaurant embodies.