It was a cold March day when Jackie took me to dinner at Daniel Boloud’s DBGB Bar and Grill in Manhattan. Jackie is the most adventurous eater that I have ever met; she is willing to try just about anything. I, on the other hand, am willing to taste different foods as long as I have a good understanding of the ingredients. The waiter approached the table and asked if we would like an appetizer to start the meal off. As always, I ordered the “safe” dinner salad; it was prepared in a very trendy way with a thick slice of iceberg topped with blue cheese, bacon and fresh herbs, served with a citrus vinaigrette. Jackie ordered the beet salad atop a pistachio crumble. I thought to myself: “what an odd dish”. The waiter arrived with the plates. Almost immediately, I noticed Jackie’s plate and was fascinated by how delicious it looked. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive to try it, but she convinced me because she knows my tastes and knew that I would like it. I wouldn’t try it until I knew what the white “dollop” of something that was topping the dish. Jackie (as always) dug right in and let me know it was yogurt. She convinced me to give it a shot and I did (staying clear of the yogurt, which I am not a fan of). The crumble and the beets were a delicious combination, and I am glad I tried this amazing appetizer. It made me want a second helping. We did notice a small peculiar item that had us both puzzled (of course you know by now I wasn’t going to try it). She did. She described it as “sweet yet sour” and “kind of tart”. We had no idea what this mystery fruit was, so I had to ask the waitress. It was a kumquat! This dish stayed in my mind for weeks because of its flavor profile; I had to try to re-create this wonderful beet salad! For my version, I combined the pistachios with ginger snaps and roasted them in the oven. I also pickled the beets and the kumquats in vinegar. I’m not sure if it is quite as good as the original, but we both love it (me minus the yogurt of course)!Print
A fresh beet salad great to make ahead for those unexpected dinner guests.
- 2 C Shelled Pistachios
- 10 each Ginger Snaps ( approx. 1 1/2 oz. )
- 6 whole beets ( tennis ball size )
- 30 Kumquats
- 1 1/2 TBSP Olive Oil
- 2 TBSP Cider Vinegar
- 2 TBSP Plain Greek Yogurt
- Sprig Fresh Mint (optional)
- Chop Pistachios with knife until a coarse crumble, or place in food processor.
- Chop Ginger snaps finely and add to Pistachio mix.
- Add Olive oil until crumbs are coated ( they should resemble slightly wet sand)
- Place mixture in baking dish and place in 350 degree oven until brown ( approx 20 minutes ).
- Wash beets and cut tops and bottoms off. Wrap individually in aluminum foil.
- Place beets on cooking sheet and place in 400 degree oven until fork tender (about 1 hour ).
- Remove pistachio crumble mixture from oven and set aside.
- When beets are done cooking, remove from oven and let cool to the touch (at this point I suggest wearing rubber or latex gloves, because beets will stain hands easily).
- Remove beets from foil and peel skin with a paring knife.
- Cut beets up in 1/2″ pieces and place in container.
- Slice Kumquats in 1/4 slices( discarding the ends ) and add to the beets.
- Cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes.
- Now its time to plate the dish:
- Place half of the Pistachio mixture on a small salad plate so that is evenly spread out.
- Place the beet and Kumquat mixture on top of the crumble and top with a dollop of the greek yogurt.
- Garnish with a sprig of mint for decoration.