by Mike Zolnowski
28 Baby beets
3/4 cup Orange or grapefruit juice
3/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cupRed wine vinegar
1 Tbs Fennel seeds
1 TbsBlack pepper corns
1/4 bunch Thyme
3 Bay leaf
1/4 cup Salt
2 cups hazelnuts
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
3 Egg yolks
1/2 cup Sugar
4 Tbs Butter, chilled, cut into 1 cm thick slices
Roasting the beets
- Preheat oven to 380F
- Clean beets thoroughly
- Peel orange and lemon with vegetable peeler reserve peel for roasting beets
- Juice orange/lemon
- Crush fennel and peppercorns
- Mix all ingredients under “Roasted beets” make sure beets are coated evenly
- Transfer to baking pan that allows for one even layer of beets. It is important that all beets rest in the liquid evenly. Insure the sides of the pan are proportionate to the size of the beets. Pan should not exceed 2inches taller than the beets
- Adjust level of liquid with water. Liquid should come 1/3 of the way up the beets. Make sure water disperses evenly in cooking liquid. Mix to insure water is not concentrated around some beets but not others
- Cover baking pan with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Insure no steam will escape. Steam helps to cook the beets faster and evenly.
- Check beets after one hour then every 30minutes until tender. Use a cake tester to check firmness of the inside
*every 30 minutes agitate the pan to keep beets covered in cooking liquid
Toast your hazelnuts
- While beets are roasting, toast hazelnuts. If skin is on, roast about 5-7 minutes to loosen skin. Continue cooking, checking every 3 minutes for doneness. A light toasting is what is desired, 1-2 shades darker.
- Once toasted, crush hazelnuts. Pieces 1/2- 1/3 original size is the goal.
- Put nuts into a colander to remove excessively small bits.
- Reserve the “dust” to roll a portion of the beets in to vary the texture of the dish, if desired.
- Season crushed nuts with Extra Virgin Olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili flakes
Make your lemon curd
- In a medium sauce pan bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer
- In a metal bowl, bowl should be large enough to cover sauce pot, whisk egg yolks and sugar until smooth
- Add juice/zest of 2 lemons and use orange or grapefruit juice to bring to 1/6 of a cup. Whisk until smooth
- Place bowl over simmering water and whisk until thickened and a light yellow.
- Remove from pan and whisk in butter. Make sure to completely incorporate one slice of butter before adding the next.
- Season with salt
- Put in a container with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the citrus curd. Store in the refrigerator.
- Segment the two oranges/grapefruits/blood oranges and lemons, reserve
- Once beets are finished, remove from liquid and peel. To peel, use a towel or paper towel to wipe the skin off. The skin should come off easily and without loss of the flesh if cooked properly. The hotter the beets are the easier it will be to peel. Use gloves to prevent staining the skin. Towels used to peel the beets will be stained so use appropriate towels.
- place some of the citrus curd on the bottom of the plate
- Sprinkle with hazelnuts
- Place beets on top of nuts
- Add segmented citrus
- Finish with some micro greens or herbs.
All components can be served at room temperature or slightly warm. If too hot the lemon curd will break, so take caution.
Play around with the plating, theres no wrong way to go here. Get creative and enjoy.
Mike graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s in restaurant management. He is now a cook at the esteemed Lincoln Ristorante in New York city which prepares their take on modern Italian cuisine. Mike is also an accomplished photographer and a talented artist.