Beet Salad with Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette and Toasted Hazelnuts

Photos by Kevin Schuder

This recipe was created exclusively by Kevin Schuder, Executive Chef at Yield Wine Bar, to pair with a bottle of 2007 Chardonnay from our featured green wine maker Medlock Ames. The grapes for this 2007 Chardonnay were whole cluster pressed then gravity-fed into French Oak barrels where they were slowly fermented with native yeasts.

Kevin says "Lighter-oaked Chardonnays are some of my favorite white wines, and the Medlock Ames 2007 is spectacular. It is very bright and refreshing, with aromas of apricots, flowers, kaffir lime, and a subtle nuttiness. The new French oak adds a gentle vanilla note as well. At first I was tempted to mirror these flavors, but the wine was so refreshing and cooling that I wanted to pair something very cooling with it. Enter cucumbers and crisp baby romaine lettuces, which were begging for the vanilla bean vinaigrette I've been serving off and on at Yield this summer."

Vanilla-Bean Vinaigrette

Photos by Kevin Schuder

"A fresh vanilla bean can be a little costly, but it completely transforms a vinaigrette which only gets better over time. It works well with many different salads. To illustrate this, I also use it in a winter salad of beets, endives, and blue cheese," says Kevin.

1 cup dry white wine
1 cup canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 whole vanilla bean

Photos by Kevin Schuder

1. Carefully slice down the middle of the vanilla bean, using your knife to scrape out the seeds.

2. Put the seeds into the bottle you want to put the dressing in.

3. Add the wine, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean pod to a saucepan, and simmer until tit's reduced to about 1/4 cup.

4. Whisk together the reduced wine, white wine vinegar, and the canola oil.

5. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Alcohol free vanilla extract can even help round out the vanilla flavor if needed.

6. Put the vanilla bean pod and the dressing into the bottle, and give it a good shake.

You'll need to shake it up each time you use it, as the vanilla seeds tend to sink.

Photos by Kevin Schuder

Medlock Ames Chiogga Beets with Endives and Blue Cheese

Kevin says "The good people of Medlock Ames were kind enough to give me a jar of their wonderful pickled chiogga beets, which I used for this recipe. Just as they know how to use less oak with a chardonnay, they used less vinegar in their pickled beets, which made for a very light and subtle pickle. It was almost as if the beets weren't pickled at all, so substituting roasted beets will also work well. I think you'll find that this vinaigrette helps salads pair very well with many different white wines."

Pickled Chiogga beets from Medlock Ames
Belgian endives
Quality blue cheese, crumbled
Chopped fresh tarragon (or whole leaves)
Toasted and chopped hazelnuts
Vanilla bean vinaigrette
Salt and pepper
Fresh baby arugula (optional)

1. Cut the beets into wedges.

2. Cut the endives into slices, taking care to leave out the tough bottoms.

3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the endives, arugula, some of the tarragon, and some of the hazelnuts with the vinaigrette to coat. Add a little salt and pepper, mixing well so that it is evenly dispersed.

4. Taste a piece of the endive and add more vinaigrette, or adjust the flavors as needed.

5. Arrange on a plate and add the beets, cut into wedges to the endive. Drizzle a little bit of the vinaigrette over the beets and add a little salt.

6. Top with the blue cheese crumbles, tarragon, and extra hazelnuts.

Photos by Kevin Schuder

"Another way to present the same salad is to cut the beets into a small dice, then add the vinaigrette, hazelnuts, tarragon, salt and pepper to taste. Scoop into whole endive spears and top with the blue cheese crumbles. This presentation turns a salad into excellent finger food for a party, for when you don't want to deal with plates and forks," notes Kevin.

Kevin's vinaigrette is so amazing, he couldn't make just one salad. And who would blame him! Both of these are sure to become favorites.

Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Romaine Salad

Photos by Kevin Schuder Heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges Armenian or English cucumbers, cut into slices Baby romaine lettuces, washed and separated into leaves Chopped fresh tarragon (or whole leaves) Toasted and chopped hazelnuts Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette Salt and Pepper

1. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces, some tarragon, and some hazelnuts to a large mixing bowl.

2. Toss with the vinaigrette to coat, and add some salt and pepper, mixing well so that they are evenly dispersed.

3. Taste a piece of the lettuce. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Photos by Kevin Schuder

4. Arrange on a plate with the lettuce mostly on the bottom.

5. Top with the tomatoes and cucumbers.

6. Garnish with additional tarragon and hazelnuts

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Tags: Cooking | Green Wine Guide | Recipes | Vegetarian

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