This dish has taken quite some time to come together. What is exciting for me is that it uses the entire beet. Unfortunately the greens were not in good form, so today we are talking the entire beet root. In many professional kitchens, once precise cuts are made, the remainder of the vegetable ends up in the garbage or the compost heap or family meal. We are looking for ways to avoid that kind of waste and utilize as much of the edible product as possible.
The dish began when we pressure cooked the beets in a broth of apple cider and garlic. When the beets were cooked, we peeled them and reserved the cooking liquid which we strained and then infused with smoked paprika and reduced. We then gelled the liquid with a combination of agar agar and locust bean gum.
Next we took the beets themselves and diced some of them into a brunoise and cut some into batons. We dressed the batons with an olive caramel and let them marinate to marry the flavors. We mixed the cubed beets with a brunoise of our Alfonso olive puree and dressed the mixture with olive oil and the juices from the marinated beet batons. Leaves of tarragon were a last minute addition.
The final and most substantial element of the dish is the beet parfait which is made with a blend of all the beet scraps rounded out with walnut oil, cherry juice, violet essence, minus 8 vinegar and water, and set with a blend of carrageenan. ( I must note here that the current issues with carrageenan and cancer refer to partially degraded carrageenan coming from the Phillipines, which is not what we and many other chefs are currently using in our kitchens.)
The last element to the dish is a pair of fresh walnut halves, which were both tender and crunchy, echoing the flavor of the walnut oil in the parfait. The leaves of tarragon add a refreshing herbal note to the entire dish to enliven the palate as you work your way through the different textures and flavors.