Nelson chef goes beyond a traditional salad

There is more to a good salad than iceberg lettuce and unripe tomatoes and Nelson chef Jamie Hertz has some ideas for your veggies.

Nelson chef Jamie Hertz offers up ideas for a great beet salad.

There is more to a salad than tossing a couple of ingredients in a bowl and putting a dressing on top. When you’re building a salad you want to look at what role each ingredient will play and see what effect it will have on the overall taste. Now I am not saying that you have to put on the lab coats and begin experimenting like a scientist, but there are some simple rules to follow. You want to have a proper balance of texture and flavour, so look into ingredients that complement each other. You also want to have a good balance of sweet and savory as well. For example toasted almonds or sunflower seeds are a good counter for fresh fruit. It’s all about exciting the taste buds as much as possible with each bite.

I see most restaurants out there offer a side salad as a part of their meal plan and it is always the same boring generic green salad with a couple slices of tomato and perhaps some carrot and a slice of cucumber. Why is that, and why people can’t start thinking outside the box and show some originality? I mean after all most of us go out to restaurants to eat because we want to eat something that we aren’t going to cook at home right!

Get creative and put some sprouted beans in a green salad for texture and protein or some crispy potatoes for that savory crunch. It doesn’t have to be difficult to be original and good it just takes a little thought as to why those ingredients are there.

The ‘80s are over so please get rid of the iceberg lettuce with pale tomato and cucumber with skin like leather. Its crap and no one likes it so stop putting on the dishes as filler.

Now that I have told you how I really feel about side salads, I am going to share with you my beet salad. For many years at Fusion I had a beet salad that was craved by many. I have received many messages asking me for the recipe and I feel like sharing it with you all today.

There are a few key points to this salad that must be paid attention to. First off, it is important to have at least two different varieties of beets in this salad because they come with different flavour elements and having just one beet will become overwhelming and taste gross after a while.

When cooking the beets the best way is to toss them in oil and a little bit of salt and roast them as a pose to boiling them. The boiling will make the beets lose both flavour and color.

Dressing:

I cup garlic confit (slow cooked in oil) reserve the oil as well

2 cups garlic oil

75ml red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon smooth Dijon

3 tablespoons toasted yellow curry powder

Salt & Pepper

-Add all of the ingredients except for the oil into a large mouth jar or clean empty can and puree until smooth with a hand blender. This can also be done in a food processor

-Once smooth slowly drizzle in the oil until fully emulsified, again using either the blender or food processor

As for the rest of the salad I like to add Boursin cheese or any other soft sweet cheese like goat milk or even cream cheese. Toasted candied pecans add a wonderful flavour boost and they are fun to eat as well. To break things up you may want to think of tossing the salad in some greens. This salad was also designed to be served warm

– Chef Jamie Hertz

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