The question posited in a recent New York Times news report “Locally Grown Gets Tricky In the Cold.” is how can chefs provide delicious, exciting menus and still stay true to a commitment to use locally sourced ingredients.
The Times wrote:
Locally grown. Market-sourced. Farm to table: These phrases have become the mantras of the American menu, promising ingredients that are supremely fresh, in season and produced within a tight radius of the restaurant.
But what can they possibly mean in the dead of winter, in northerly climes where farms are battened down and the earth is as hard as a raw cabbage?
Great chefs and food thought leaders such as Chef Dan Barber; Blue Hill at Stone Barns takes the winter season as a challenge. His seasonal, market-driven menu is an overwhelming testament to his success.
Mr. Barber pointed out that many of the strategies that chefs employ in winter, like fermentation or cold storage, are nothing new. “A lot of these techniques are ancient and brilliant, and evolved out of desperation,” he said.
To prove Chef Barber’s point, this Examiner took the full tour at the Union Square Greenmarket and found lots and lots of delicious ingredients sure to inspire top, homegrown chefs and home cooks alike.
From kohlrabi, turnips, black radishes, Hakurei turnips, to beets and potatoes in colors to make a summer day blush, (the Chioggia’s are works of art!) there is a cornucopia worthy of culinary creations.
From this Examiner’s book: The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook:
Roasted Baby Beet Salad with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
makes 4 salads
For the beets…
10 baby red beets
10 baby golden beets
10 baby candy stripe beets
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
for the plating…
roasted baby beets
1 # baby arugula, best fresh from a local organic farm
½ cup sherry vinaigrette
4 slices of Humboldt Fog goat’s milk cheese or your favorite goat’s milk cheese
1 cup salted pistachios
Place the beets, thyme, oil and vinegar in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 375 until a toothpick or knife slides into and out of the beets with little resistance.
Uncover and allow to cool in the cooking liquid, then refrigerate for several hours or until cold.
Remove the beets from the liquid and peel each one, removing any peel around the stem end.
Cut them in half and set them aside.
for the pistachios…
1 cup pistachios, raw
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Place the pistachios on a baking sheet and put in the 375 oven to toast for 8-10 minutes.
While they are cooking, place a small sauté pan on a high flame to allow to get hot.
Add the tbsp of butter and swirl, remove from the heat and reserve for the nuts.
When the pistachios are done, place them in a mixing bowl, add the brown butter, salt and sugar and toss to evenly coat.
Set the nuts aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
for the sherry vinaigrette…
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 fl oz dry sherry
5 fl oz sherry vinegar
1 cup canola or neutral salad oil
½ cup pure olive oil
3 Tbsp walnut oil
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
place all ingredients except the oils in a blender and process on high.
slowly stream in the oils, one at a time until the vinaigrette is smooth.
season to taste with salt and pepper to your liking.
Arrange the beets on each plate and drizzle with sherry vinaigrette
Toss the baby arugula in a bowl with the vinaigrette and place a handful on each plate
Garnish with a slice of Humboldt Fog goat’s milk cheese and pistachios