Beets & Crushed Avocado with Grapefruit
- 1 lb. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 Tbs. peppercorns
- 1 Tbs. coriander seeds
- 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. juniper berries
- 1 tsp. dried lavender
- 3 lb. red or golden beets, each 2 inches wide, trimmed and washed
- 5 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Texas Ruby Red grapefruits
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 shallot, diced
- 4 to 6 cups mâche
In a large baking pan, stir together the 1 lb. salt, the peppercorns, coriander, thyme, fennel seeds, juniper berries and lavender. Pack the beets into the salt mixture (they do not need to be covered with the salt). Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast until the beets are fork-tender, about 1 hour. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them. Cut about three-fourths of the beets into wedges and dice the remaining beets.
In a blender, puree the diced beets and 3 Tbs. of the vinegar. While blending, add 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Season the pureed beets with salt and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Using a paring knife, peel the grapefruits and cut into segments. Place the segments in a bowl, reserving the juices. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the grapefruit juice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the juice is syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 2 Tbs. vinegar and 3 Tbs. of the olive oil until emulsified. Alternatively, in a salad dressing emulsifier, combine the reduced grapefruit juice, vinegar and olive oil and squeeze the lever to emulsify. Let cool. Reserve 1 Tbs. of the dressing and toss the remaining dressing with the beet wedges.
In a bowl, crush the avocados with the lime juice, shallot, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil; the mixture should be chunky.
To serve, spoon the pureed beets onto a platter. Top with the beet wedges, grapefruit segments and crushed avocado mixture. In a bowl, toss the mâche with the reserved 1 Tbs. dressing and arrange it around the platter. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from a recipe by Jeremy Fox, Chef, Ubuntu, Napa, CA.