The combination of the warm crisped beets, raw sliced plums and the unexpected punch of the chiles is what makes this salad so memorable… The gentle creaminess of the ricotta keeps this contrast under control. –Francis Mallman
Beet and Plum Salad
- 8 oz (220 g) day-old bread
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed
- coarse salt
- freshly-ground black pepper
- 4 beets
- 4 cups (approx.) vegetable broth, water or a combination
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 6 dill sprigs
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- extra-virgin olive oil
- coarse salt
- 4 ripe red plums
- 1 cup (227 g) fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 or 2 small hot chiles halved, ribs and seeds removed and thinly sliced
- Crunchy Breadcrumbs
- Crumble the bread by hand over a bowl. Line a small sheet pan with paper towels. Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and fry them for about 2 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are crunchy and browned to your liking. Add more olive oil if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan to drain. Store in an airtight container.
- Heat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Place the beets in a small lidded pot or a baking dish deeper than the height of the beets. Pour in the broth to come about two-thirds up the sides of the beets. Add the garlic, half the dill, the vinegar, and olive oil and salt to taste. Put the lid on the pot or cover the dish tightly with foil and cook for about 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets, until they are tender all the way through when pierced with a skewer.
- When the beets are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and brush generously with olive oil. Meanwhile, with a sharp knife, slice the plums as thinly as you can, cutting around the pit. Tear the remaining dill into pieces, discarding any tough stems, and set aside.
- Heat a large cast-iron griddle over high heat and warm the plancha.
- Brush the hot plancha or griddle with olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the beets cut side down. Cook until crisped on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a wide platter.
- Arrange the plums around the beets on the platter. Add dollops of ricotta, the sliced chiles, the breadcrumbs and the remaining dill.