The perfect segue between summer and fall, this fantastic recipe with its beautiful autumnal colors comes to us courtesy of Chef Victoria Acosta from The Grill at Meadowood Resort.
5 lbs. assorted color baby beets (reserve one of each color for shaving raw)
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup bulgur wheat, rinsed
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 large shallot, minced
1 head fennel, white bulb only, rough small chop
1 vanilla bean, scraped
sea salt to taste
1 1/2 cups Round Pond Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus 2 Tbsp for heating
½ head fennel, fronds reserved
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
For Beets: Remove leaves, reserve small ones for the salad, and wash beets well. In a roasting pan, add beets, 3 Tbsp each of salt and sugar, ¼ cup Round Pond Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and cover half way with water. Cover pan with foil and cook in a 400F oven for approximately 35 min. Test to make sure they are fork tender, pull out of oven and let cool. Carefully remove peels using gloved hands or a kitchen towel, leaving the “tails” intact. Cut beets in halves and quarters.
For Grains: In two separate pots, heat 1/8 cup (in each pot) of Round Pond Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Add half the minced shallot to each pot and season with salt to taste. Stir occasionally and allow shallot to sweat. Add grains to separate pots, toasting slightly in the olive oil. Cover with water or vegetable stock and allow to simmer until grains are just tender or al dente. Strain out any excess liquid and allow to cool completely.
For Fennel Purée: In a sauce pot, heat 2 Tbsp Round Pond Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped fennel, salt and vanilla bean. Stir occasionally and allow to sweat. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and allow to steam until very tender. Combine in a blender and strain through a fine chinois or cheesecloth. Cool in an ice bath.
For Dressing: Combine citrus juices, 1 cup Round Pond Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and salt to taste in an air tight container. Seal and shake until emulsified.
To assemble: Dress roasted & raw shaved beets and shaved fennel with dressing and a touch of sea salt (separating red beets to avoid bleeding of color). In another bowl, combine grains, pomegranate, dressing and season with sea salt. On the plate, spread a spoonful of fennel purée along desired area. Add a base of grain mixture. Begin to build layers of roasted beets, shaved beets, fennel and grains. When you have reached desired portion size, finish the plating with your chosen garnishes and enjoy!