“I LOVE earthy, sweet dishes,” said Renee Touponce about this vibrant strawberry and beet salad; this is her third Slow Food Fast contribution. The salad is sat on honeyed labneh and topped with a boldly spiced brown butter drizzle; the dish is sweet and tart, reminiscent of an ice cream sundae with savory flavors.
The chef’s innovative method: Slice roasted beets into small berry-sized pieces and then quickly pickle them before mixing them with a portion of strawberries. “With red or pink beets,” Touponce explained, “the colors bleed a bit and look beautiful.” To drizzle the sauce, melt butter gently until it turns brown and nutty, then add aromatics and turn off the heat by letting the spices grow. “People don’t think of whole spices as adding texture, but I love their crunch,” Touponce stated. “This salad changes throughout the year at Oyster Club, but this combo is a favorite.”
Beet and Strawberry Salad With Spiced Brown Butter and Labneh
In this tasty and surprising salad, the earthy beets and summer strawberries sit on top of an icy swirl of yogurt.
- Small or medium size beets of 12 (about 1 lb)
- Two tablespoons of olive oil plus an extra tablespoon to drizzle
- Salt Kosher
- 1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1 pint of strawberries, washed and cut
- 1 1/2 cup labneh
- Two tablespoons honey
- One lemon, squeezed and zested
- Half a Cup (1 stick) of salted butter
- Two tablespoons of coriander seeds
- Small dried red chilies
- Four sprigs of fresh Thyme
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh mint or chopped parsley roughly torn
- Preheat oven to 450 °. Place beets in a baking dish and drizzle the olive oil with two tablespoons of water and salt. Cover with foil and cook until tender, between 25 and 35 minutes, based on the size.
- If the beets are still hot, you can use a kitchen towel to clean off the skins and dispose of them. Cut beets in 1 1/2-inch wedges and place them in a bowl. Mix in vinegar, one tablespoon of olive oil, and salt as desired. Keep in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
- Cut strawberries into wedges of 1 1/2 inches and place them in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, mix labneh with one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice, and salt. Add additional honey if needed. The flavor should not be too tart but a little sweet.
- Make butter by melting it in a small saucepan at a moderately low temperature. When it’s golden brown and has a nutty smell, for approximately 5 minutes, shut off the heat. Add coriander seeds immediately, as well as Thyme and chiles. Take 10 minutes to simmer before removing the Thyme and chiles.
- Remove the beets from the vinegar and place them in the bowl with the strawberries. Sprinkle with salt and drizzles of olive oil. To serve, spread the labneh across four plates. Serve the strawberry-beet blend on top of each, and drizzle generously with butter that has a brown coriander flavor. Then, garnish with fresh herbs and lemon zest.