BERRIES HAVE THE BEST MOUTHFEEL, the way you can feel each one individually in your mouth—like tapioca, or really well-cooked sushi rice. But people have lost some important berry vibe. These days everybody wants them to be sweet. I think they should be sour. That’s what I liked about saskatoons when I first encountered them in Newfoundland, where they call them serviceberries. I also like how the harvest window is so small. They’re not exactly rare. But commercially, you don’t see them that much. The last thing is that they’re really good for you—rich in anti-oxidants and very healthy. —J.C.
Spring vegetables are at last beginning to trickle in – so it’s time to dispense with last year’s root vegetables.And the ultimate send off for last year’s beets is this recipe from Jason Carter, of Dandylion – which treats beet like meat. Build a vegetarian meal around a tenderloin-like slice and winter’s heartiest vegetable become the centrepiece of a light, spring meal.
- 4 large red beets, scrubbed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt, pepper
- 3 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 garlic cloves
- 100 g (1/4 cup) butter, cut into pieces
- Fleur de sel
- Preheat oven to 120°C (250°F).
- Arrange beets on a baking sheet.
- Put in oven for 8-10 hours (overnight). Set aside to cool. Peel, and trim about 1 cm (1/2”) from the root end.
- Then cut into thick slices—about 3 cm (11/4”) thick.
- Rub beet slices with the olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed non-stick skillet on medium-high.
- Add the frying oil, and when it begins to shimmer, add the beets. Do not overcrowd your pan—work in batches if necessary. Sear the first side until caramelized (but do not burn), about 1 minute. Flip beet slices, lower heat, and add the thyme, garlic and butter.
- When the butter foams, tilt the pan and spoon the hot butter over the beets, basting them repeatedly until they are glistening and thoroughly heated through. Transfer beets to a warm serving dish and sprinkle with fleur de sel.