New Farmhouse Chef Thaddeus Barton’s Beet Salad
When I tell people about all the wonderful things Thaddeus Barton, the new chef at The Farmhouse, is doing, they smile and nod politely. They let me ramble on about all the ways he’s bringing his voice to the menu and how rare it is to find someone who understands what it takes to run a seasonally driven Southern restaurant out of a small space. The Farmhouse is not Mary Mac’s and it’s not Bacchanalia, I say, it’s simple, fresh cuisine several steps above really good home cooking and chefs often can’t wrap their head around it. People make sympathetic noises of agreement.
When I stop, they say: He’s not going to take the fried chicken and biscuits off the menu, is he?
Of course not. As much as we adore Thaddeus—and his fiancé Lane who has joined the kitchen at The Blue Eyed Daisy—we know what side our bread is buttered on. The fried chicken and biscuits (or, as we call them, Farmhouse crack) are here to stay.
Thaddeus brings so much more to the table—or should I say tables—at The Farmhouse, including this beautiful beet salad with toasted pecans, ruby red grapefruit segments, thinly sliced fennel and onion vinaigrette. As if that wasn’t decadent enough, he tops it with Brebis, a sheep’s milk cheese from nearby Many Fold Farm. It was one the March menu, but now you can enjoy it at home with the recipe below:
Beet Salad with Onion Vinaigrette
For the salad:
2 pounds baby golden beets
2 pounds golden beets (about 4)
16 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1 bay leaf
5 thyme sprigs
Wash all the beets well using a scrub brush. Toss the baby beets in grape seed oil, salt, pepper, and roast whole at 375 for about 45 minutes or until tender. For the larger beets, put in pot with orange juice, bay, thyme, pinch of salt, and cover with water. Simmer until tender, remove beets to cool, then strain cooking liquid into a smaller pot and continue cooking until it’s the consistency of a light syrup. Baby beets can be halved or quartered, leave skin on. For the remaining beets, remove skin, and cut into small bite sized pieces. Once the liquid has reduced, toss the beets back into it.
1 Vidalia onion diced and cooked at low heat for one hour
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
3/4 cup grape seed oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
After the onion is cooled from cooking, place in blender with vinegar and mustard. Purée mixture until smooth, then drizzle the oil while blender is running, season with salt and pepper.
1 fennel bulb shaved thin
2 ruby red grapefruit segmented
1/2 cup pecans toasted
4 oz Many Fold Farm Brebis
Lime streaks mustard greens for garnish
To assemble, place the fennel, grapefruit, pecans, and mustards in mixing bowl. Dress the mixture with just enough vinaigrette to barely coat everything, season with salt and pepper. Arrange the beets on a plate, then whimsically place other ingredients along side beets, finish with a few dollops of the Brebis.