Wanna make like a chef…? Try your hand at a composed salad! It’s just a matter of assembling the already prepped ingredients so they look good. Really good.
As you can see by the photo above, I composed the same salad, two different ways – using two different plates. Mind you if I’d used a round white plate instead of the black, you’d see the ingredients much better. However, there is some drama going on with the dark plate…
If you’re serving this at a dinner party, there’s absolutely no reason you couldn’t give everyone a different plate, with a slightly different presentation – talk about a conversation starter! This is also good to do if you’re watching, or like me, even trying to watch how much you’re eating. We do eat with our eyes first after all, and if this step has some interest & excitement it adds to the enjoyment.
If you think a humble root vegetable cannot have some elegance, you should try this. Under the beets, some which are sliced, some cut in wedges, is some yogurt cheese.
To do this, you need to ‘hang’ it which means draining it in a small sieve, overnight in the fridge. Line the sieve with something like a coffee filter – all the excess liquid will drip away, leaving you with something like a very soft cheese. Yogurt works great, as would sour cream – which also pairs very well with the beets.
If you can’t find pre-cooked cryovaced beets, you could roast them on your barbecue or cook them in a microwave. I buy them at Lady York Foods, they’re only $2.99 for a package that gives you 4 – 6, depending on the size. It’s one of the best culinary bargains going – all you need to do is season them to your liking!
So, once you have:
- the yogurt or sour cream ready
- the cooked beets, cut into slices or wedges
- a small handful of arugula (it’s really just a garnish)
- some chopped pistachios (walnuts would also be great)
- and some good extra virgin olive oil, you’re ready to assemble
Oh… there’s no need to tell anyone how easy it really was. Just let them think of how clever you are, and bask in the compliments!
- *1/3 cup approx. full fat Greek yogurt or full fat sour cream - drained of excess liquid
- 3 - 4 small to medium beets, pre-cooked
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Small handful of arugula
- 1 tablespoon approx. chopped pistachios
- Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Large pinch Kosher salt
- Large pinch freshly ground black pepper
- *put this on to drain the night before: in a coffee filter lined sieve, over a bowl, in the fridge
- Cut the beets into slices and/or wedges and put in a small bowl, cutting as many as you need to have 3 to 5 pieces per plate. Cut off a small piece to taste one, then splash on as much of the balsamic vinegar as you like, and season with a bit of salt & pepper. Mix and set aside.
- Pick out 4 serving plates, and place on your counter.
- Take a heaping teaspoon of the yogurt (or sour cream) and drop it on the far left side of the plate (but not at the edge). Then take the spoon and using the base of it, drag the mixture across the plate, basically making a streak, while spreading it across.
- Arrange the beets across the yogurt streak, using 3 - 5 pieces per plate. Sprinkle over a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
- Lay some of the arugula across the beets, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and season with salt & pepper.
- Sprinkle across a bit of the pistachios. Serve. Enjoy.
- *many quantities are approximate, so use to your taste & judgement - and don't let any one thing overpower