Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Purple Salad

I was imagining this one for a while: what would an all-purple salad look like? A one-off Halloween project? Lush and shadowy like an Old Masters still life? Or maybe just color-wheel opposite day? Keeping track of all the purple fruit and veg that I saw, I tried to figure out a way to gather all of them at one perfect time for the dark, moody salad I daydreamed about making.

This week ended up being the right time to transfer what was vividly locked in my mind to the plate. (Now I'm dreaming of salads representing each hue; red and yellow and green are easy...but what about, say, blue? Hmmm...)

Purple Salad

1 Detroit red beet
olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper
crusty bread
4 leaves purple cabbage
4 leaves radicchio
purple baby romaine lettuce
10 purple basil leaves, no stems
20 red grapes
a purple plum

For the salad:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the beet and slice it into about 1/4-inch thick half-moons. Drizzle with a 1-2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. honey; add sea salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20 minutes. Set aside. Next, chop up the bread into small squares and drizzle it with olive oil to lightly coat it. Add salt and pepper. Put this into the same oven for about 10-15 minutes until crisp. Set aside.

Rinse and chop the radicchio and cabbage into small, thin strips. Rinse and spin the purple baby romaine and purple basil. Wrap these loosely in paper towels and allow them to chill in the fridge. Cut the red grapes in half; slice the plum with the skin on. Chill these, too.

For the goat cheese disks:
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup pecans
2 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. gray sea salt

Dry roast the pecans for no more than 5 minutes in a skillet on medium heat. Roughly chop them and spread them on a small plate. Mix up the goat cheese with honey and gray salt. Shape the goat cheese mix into 1-inch-round balls and smash them into the pecan mixture to flatten and coat.

For the purple vinaigrette:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. grenache vinegar
juice from half a lemon
sea salt and cracked pepper

Whisk all ingredients and drizzle the vinaigrette over composed salad.

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