Beets, Bergamot, Mints, Wildflowers

Mauren Caruso

Bergamot Oil
  • 150 g pure olive oil
  • 6 drops bergamot essential oil
Bergamot vinaigrette
  • Bergamot juice
  • Bergamot oil
  • Champagne vinegar, if necessary
  • Salt
Beet Purée and Gel
  • 200 g roasted beets
  • 125 g beet juice
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Bergamot oil
  • Sugar, if necessary
  • Gelatin 
  • Salt
To Serve
  • 8 young beets
  • Pure olive oil
  • Sugar
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Mint
  • Wildflowers
  • Salt

For the bergamot vinaigrette, I can't tell you ratios because bergamot juice varies widely in sweetness and acidity. Combine the bergamot juice and bergamot oil and season with salt. Add a little vinegar if needed, but the bergamot should have plenty of acidity. Don't add too much oil (start with 4 parts bergamot juice to 1 part oil) -- keep it very bright.

Toss all of the beets except 1 with pure olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast with a little water in a covered container at 350°F (180°) until tender. Shake the pan occasionally, and make sure that the beets stay moist -- not drowning in water, but moist. Cool and peel. Cut 8 of the smallest beets into different shapes -- the 2 smallest ones in half, 4 of the next size in thick slices, the last 2 in quarters. Toss with the vinaigrette, salt, and sugar if necessary. Reserve the rest for the purée and gel.

Reduce the beet juice by half, cool and blend with the roasted beets until smooth. Season with rice wine vinegar, a small amount of the bergamot oil, salt, and sugar if necessary. Put half in a small squeeze bottle. Weigh the other half, and warm in a pot. Soften the gelatin (2.5% of the weight of the beet purée) in cold water and then stir into the purée to melt. Spread on a small tray lined with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Dice the beet gel on a cold cutting board into 3/8-inch (7-mm) cubes and refrigerate on a small tray lined with plastic.

Thinly slice the remaining raw beet and cut rounds the size of a dime. Vacuum seal them with salt, sugar, and rice wine vinegar. You will need 3 per guest.

At this point in the recipe you've probably noticed a theme. Everything is treated as variations on the same flavor profile, so they all need to be attuned to each other, sweet and sour, but not drivingly acidic. There should be a gentleness and harmony in the seasoning.

To serve, put 3 cubes of beet gel on the plate interspersed with 3 dots of beet purée. Arrange 4 pieces of roasted, seasoned beet around them. Dot the beets with several drops of beet purée. Garnish with a few pieces of compressed beet. Drizzle with a spoonful of vinaigrette, and cover with pieces of mint and wildflowers. 
From the book, Coi: Stories and Recipes by Daniel Patterson (Phaidon, $49.95, October 2013).
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