Joshua McFadden is executive chef/owner of Portland, Oregon’s Ava Gene’s, which Bon Appétit has named a Top 10 Best New Restaurant. McFadden’s latest restaurant, Tusk, opened in Portland, Oregon, in 2016. His first book, Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, has just been published.
SIX SEASONS highlights how to take advantage of vegetables’ attributes as they evolve throughout their growing seasons. To help readers identify which vegetables are best at any given time, McFadden organizes the book into micro seasons—from the fresh green of Spring to the fits and starts of Early Summer, the bounty of Midsummer to the bursting harvest of Late Summer, and the ebbing of Fall into the earthy, mellow sweetness of Winter.
- 1 pound beets, ideally with pristine greens attached
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup salted roasted sunflower seeds
- ½ cup lightly packed roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 4 scallions, trimmed (including ½ inch off the green tops), sliced on a sharp angle, soaked in ice water for 20 minutes, and drained well
- ½ cup lightly packed seeded, chopped pickled peppers, such as pepperoncini
- 2 firm-ripe avocados
Find This Recipe on Page 134 of Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables by Joshua McFadden.
The pepperoncini and sunflower seeds make this like a “salad bar” salad, though the similarity stops there. I always use beet tops, in the same way I like to use radish tops (provided they’re in good shape). I give them a quick sauté and a brief marination, then toss them into the dish.
- Heat the oven to 375ºF
- Trim the tops and bottoms off the beets. Wash the greens and spin dry in a salad spinner. Rinse and scrub the beets to remove any mud or grit. Cut up any larger beets so that they are all about the same size.
- Put the beets in a baking dish that's large enough to accommodate all of them in a single layer. Season with salt, then pour ¼ cup water into the dish. Cover tightly with foil and steam-roast until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Depending on the size, density, and age of the beets, this could take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, if you have beet greens to cook, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add a glug of olive oil, add the beet greens, and toss them until they are wilted and a bit stewed, about 5 minutes. Set aside until cool, then chop through them a few times.
- When the beets are tender, let them cool until you can handle them, then rub or pare away the skins. Cut into ½-inch wedges or chunks and pile into a bowl. Add the greens.
- While the beets are still warm, sprinkle with the vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and many twists of black pepper. Toss to distribute the seasonings and let the beets absorb the vinegar for a few minutes. Add a healthy glug of olive oil and toss again. Let the beets sit at room temperature until you’re ready to serve.
- To assemble for serving, add the sunflower seeds, parsley, scallions, and pickled peppers and toss gently. Peel the avocados and cut them into neat chunks that are about the same size as the beet wedges, and add them to the beets, too. Toss thoroughly but very gently, so you don’t mash the avocado too much. Taste and adjust with more salt, black pepper, vinegar, or oil. Serve right away.