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For Sinatra chef Theo Schoenegger, food is all about the seasons. “I really love to go from a good heirloom tomato in the summer to baby beets in the fall, from peaches to citrus fruits,” he says. Those two fall ingredients are the stars of this salad, which adds ricotta salata—cheese that has been pressed, salted and dried—and pistachios to baby beets, orange and grapefruit. “It’s a great fall dish, and it’s also good for you,” Schoenegger says. “It’s a great starter, but I like to use beets as a full meal because they pair so well with protein.” He recommends lobster, chicken or squab to complement the dish.
Biete e Agrumi (beet and blood orange salad)
8 baby Candy Cane beets
8 baby yellow beets
8 baby red beets
8 oz. ricotta salata, thinly sliced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
4 tbsp. blood orange juice
2 fresh bay leaves
¼ cup caramelized pistachios
1 head frisée, cleaned
1 cup micro arugula
salt and white pepper to taste
Method: Cook beets until soft, by either: 1. putting them in large pot covered with cold water, bringing to a boil, then reducing heat to simmer for around 35 minutes, or 2. roasting them in the oven at 400 degrees for around 40 minutes. Once cooked, allow beets to cool, then peel and cut in half.
Section the orange and grapefruit. Mix the lemon and blood orange juices, adding bay leaves and pepper. Put mixture in saucepot on medium high heat and reduce by half. Allow to cool, add salt and olive oil and mix gently, not emulsifying it.
To serve, place beets and citrus sections on plate, frisée and ricotta salata on top, sprinkle the pistachios and finish with dressing.