It says a lot when a restaurant keeps a dish on its menu. The marinated beet salad at Philadelphia's Farm and Fisherman has been a fixture since the restaurant opened in March 2011. To make the wildly popular salad, Josh Lawler strains yogurt overnight before topping it with roasted beets, sweet strawberries and faintly bitter watercress. (If you're eager to make the recipe immediately, simply let the yogurt strain for a few hours or look for fromage blanc at your grocery or specialty food store.) With the advent of spring and, consequently, strawberry season peeking around the corner, there's no better time to get familiar with the Farm and Fisherman's signature dish.
Roasted Beets and Strawberries with Yogurt and Watercress
Recipe adapted from Josh Lawler, The Farm and Fisherman, Philadelphia
Yield: Serves 4
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, plus overnight to strain the yogurt
1½ cups plain full-fat yogurt
3 bunches mixed baby beets (12 to 15 beets), tops removed and beets cleaned
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons high-quality balsamic vinegar, plus more to finish
1 teaspoon honey
1 small bunch watercress (about 2½ cups)
1 pound (2 pints) ripe strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1. Line a fine-mesh sieve or small colander with cheesecloth and set over a medium bowl. Place the yogurt in the cheesecloth and loosely fold the edges of the cloth over the top of the yogurt. Refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day, preheat the oven to 400°. Lay a long piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Set the beets on top, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the beets securely in the foil and roast until a paring knife easily slides into the center of the largest beet, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully unwrap the foil and set aside to cool the beets slightly.
3. Wearing kitchen gloves to protect your hands from staining, peel the beets while they're still warm. Halve the beets lengthwise and place in a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the balsamic vinegar and honey. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Lift the cheesecloth with the strained yogurt from the sieve. Discard the liquid. Unfold the cheesecloth and smear a generous dollop of the yogurt on each of 4 plates.
5. In a medium bowl, toss the watercress with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
6. Arrange the beets and strawberries on top of the 4 dollops of yogurt. Drizzle each plate with balsamic vinegar and finish with the watercress. Serve.