winter beet salad
As the intensity of harvest winds down, and all the wine is in barrel, I often find myself craving something different in the kitchen.
I love beet salads, especially in winter, because they take so well to citrus and a variety of herbs. Plus it gives a nice break from more traditional green salads. I prepare this salad primarily as a side salad, but they can be so dense it's nice to make it an entree when possible. If serving this with a protein it would go great with grilled or pan seared salmon.
Roasted Beet Salad
5 lbs. beets
1 bunch Basil
1 bunch Mint
1 Lemon (zested and juiced)
1 small Shallot (diced)
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Pistachios (shelled and roasted)
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a blender add the lemon juice, diced shallot, mustard and half of the basil and mint. Blend for a moment and then slowly drizzle in EVOO to emulsify. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Coarsely chop the pistachios, lemon zest and remaining basil and mint and combine in a small bowl.
In a large bowl toss the roasted beets with the dressing and coat them well. This can be served immediately or left to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. At the time of service lightly dress them green to accompany the beets. Top the beet salad with the mixture of pistachios, lemon zest, basil and mint.
Pair this salad with the sparkling syrah, not just for the great color compliment, but for the slightly rustic and earthy quality that mirrors flavors from the salad.
spring roll salad / green bean salad
With so many fresh fruits and veggies, summer is the season of plenty. Good thing pet project's winemaker, Jay Anderson is also an accomplished chef.
To talk simply about pairing, there are two ways to go about it, matching flavors or contrasting them. Personally, I like to pair things that are similar- think about a pairing based on the body of a wine and the heaviness of the food. Light salads with light bodied, zesty wines or rich stews with medium-full bodied wines that have more cooked fruit or savory flavors. There are lots of times when rich fatty foods require bright high acid wines but in general looking for similarities between food and wine is a bit more reliable than predicting the outcome of a contrast pairing.
One of my favorite dinners of the summer was this spring roll salad which I paired with our 2019 Roussanne pet-nat. This salad is light but extremely filling with cold rice noodles, shaved cabbage, cucumbers, fresh herbs and a ginger-citrus dressing. The Roussanne that year had a lot of tropical fruit and citrus flavors that pair perfectly with this bright, aromatic salad. Perfect for those sweltering evenings when the last thing you want to do is go anywhere near a hot stove.
Spring Roll Salad (vegan)
8 oz vermicelli rice noodles (boiled, strained, rinsed with cold water, and strained again)
1 head Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 bunch each Thai basil, Mint, Cilantro picked and torn (reserve half of the herbs for the dressing)
5-6 Scallions, thinly sliced
2-3 Carrots, shredded on a mandolin
1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved and cut thinly
¼ Cup Peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Reserve half of the remaining herbs and half of the scallions for garnish.
1/2 cup vegetable
2 T sesame oil
1 inch piece of ginger peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, de-stemmed and chopped (or other pepper or chili for desired heat level)
1/2 of the above herb blend (thai basil, mint, cilantro)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
s&p to taste
Puree all ingredients in a blender until incorporated.
Add the noodles to a large bowl with half the dressing and toss. Add all remaining ingredients and remaining dressing and toss. Let this salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving. Any leftovers will still keep well for lunch the following day.
Serve in your favorite bowls (maybe the ones you don’t use all that often) and garnish with scallions and herbs. Share with friends (maybe the ones you don’t see all that often).
Pairs well with our Roussanne pet-nats.
Serves 6-8 for a dinner sized salads
This green bean salad was a hit with my family and could be made with almost any type of pole bean, bush bean, snap peas or asparagus. The salad comes together in minutes and is great as a veggie main course or a filling side dish at a barbeque. We paired it with our 2019 Grüner Veltliner.
Green Bean Salad (vegan)
Rinse 2 pounds of green beans well and pick the stem ends off. Quickly blanch them in salted water for 1-2 minutes, they should still be a bit crunchy. Quickly strain and shock them in ice cold water. Set them back in the strainer to drain for a few minutes while making the dressing.
¼ cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
3 Tablespoons wine vinegar (or lemon juice if you like)
1 small shallot finely minced
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard (or dijon mustard if you like)
1 tablespoon raw honey (or raw maple syrup if you prefer)
1 handful fresh tarragon leaves, picked and roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients with a whisk, slowly adding EVOO to emulsify, or use a blender to incorporate if you are in a rush. Toss the beans and dressing in a large bowl and serve or allow them to marinate for an hour or two and serve cold. Garnish with whole tarragon leaves.
Serves 4-6 for a dinner sized salad or 8-10 for a side dish.