Baby Beet & Strawberry Salad with Ume Plum Vinaigrette from Season: A Year of Wine Country Food, Farming, Family & Friends, our award-winning cookbook with the culinary team at Jackson Family Wines
Summer’s almost here! We don’t know about you, but we’re eagerly looking forward to a season of backyard barbecues and warmer weather.
Celebrate the upcoming season with this beautiful salad recipe from the culinary team at Jackson Family Wines, who are doing a bit of celebrating themselves—Season won IACP’s Book of the Year Award!
Baby Beet & Strawberry Salad with Ume Plum Vinaigrette
Beets grow all year long in our garden, so we always have them on hand. Their earthy flavor calls for bright acidity and sweetness, so we love to pair them with seasonal fruit—strawberries in spring and summer, citrus in fall and winter. One of the hallmarks of California cooking is borrowing ingredients from the Asian pantry and using them in dishes that don’t necessarily taste Asian. In this case, peppery shiso, pickled ume (Japanese plum) paste, and black sesame seeds add depth and a bit of exotic mystery that take the humble beet to a better, higher place.
For the roasted beets:
3 bunches each red, golden, and
Chioggia baby beets, greens removed
(about 3 lb after trimming)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons rice oil or other
For the ume vinaigrette:
2⁄3 cup (3 oz) strawberries, hulled and
3 tablespoons red verjus
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons ume (plum) paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon tahini
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice oil or other
For the fried leeks:
1 large leek, white part only, root
Rice oil or other neutral-flavored oil,
1⁄4 cup Wondra flour or rice flour
6 small red or purple radishes, trimmed
and thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 lb strawberries, hulled and cut into
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
5 large red or green shiso leaves, torn
12 fresh borage flowers
To roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large roasting pan, combine the beets, salt, rice oil, and 1 cup water, spreading the beets in a single layer. (If the beets vary significantly in size, separate them by size and cook in two separate pans.) Cover the pan with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beets are knife tender; the timing will depend on their size. Remove the beets from the pan and, while still warm, gently rub off the skins with a paper towel. Quarter the beets lengthwise and set aside.
To make the vinaigrette: In a blender, combine the strawberries, verjus vinegar, and pomegranate molasses and process until smooth. Pour into a small bowl, add the ume paste, soy sauce, tahini, and salt, and stir to combine. Slowly add both oils while whisking constantly until emulsified. You should have about 1 cup. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To fry the leeks: Cut the leek in half lengthwise and then cut each half lengthwise into thin, equal-size strips. Rinse the leek strips in cold water and lay them on a kitchen towel to dry thoroughly. Pour the oil to a depth of 1 to 2 inches into a wide, heavy medium pot and heat to 300°F on a deepfrying thermometer. Line a plate with paper towels and set near the stove.
In a small, shallow bowl, toss the leek strips with the flour, coating evenly. When the oil is ready, working in batches if needed to avoid crowding, add the leeks to the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leeks to the towel-lined plate to drain and season with salt while hot.
To serve: Arrange the beets, radishes, and strawberries in a shallow serving bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with the sesame seeds, fried leeks, shiso leaves, and borage flowers.
Praise for Season
“This is more than a cookbook. It brings to life the Jackson Family’s philosophy that everything starts with the soil. It’s a carefully crafted reflection of today’s wine country farming, cooking, and entertaining—a guide to celebrating seasonal bounty with simple, sophisticated recipes paired with wonderful wines.” — Thomas Keller, Chef-proprietor of The French Laundry and Per Se
“An appealing advertisement for not just wines and food, but for the California wine country lifestyle.”— Publishers Weekly
“The beautifully illustrated book would make a great gift for family members who want to take a certain slice of Sonoma County home.” —Made Local Magazine
“Why can’t everyone write cookbooks like the folks at Jackson Family Wines do? This gorgeous volume is cleverly organized by season, making it easy to use for meal planning.” —Mercury News