A couple of weeks ago Gigi called me from her Wedgewood Urban Gardens, positively ecstatic. “You are never going to believe what I found in the garden today. Never!”
Her garden is a vast oasis in an otherwise sketchy part of town, the lower lot filled now with all manner of herbs, blooming flowers, greens, fennel, and fruit trees—the upper acre has rows and rows dedicated to tomatoes, beans, squashes, asparagus, beets. I couldn’t imagine what she had discovered.
Before I could even hazard a guess, her voice boomed,
“Raspberries! American Black Raspberries! I didn’t even know I had these plants. The birds didn’t know either. They are HUGE.”
The next day, I met her at the garden to do some picking. Wow. Rushes of berries were coming in—in addition to her plump black raspberries, she had plants covered with red and, gasp, golden raspberries. Fantastic! I had never seen golden raspberries growing before. Never!
We moved with care from bush to bush, examining the little gems, selecting the ripest–the ones that come off in your hand with the least effort. The sun was hot, the canes a bit prickly, but no matter. We were in raspberry heaven.
With our community pot luck on the horizon, we wanted to be sure to include these precious fruits in some special dishes.
Raspberry cobbler was a given. And Gigi was vying for a Raspberry Barbecue Sauce for grilled chicken. (Sounds strange, but I did make it at the last minute– without a recipe–for our cookout and it turned out really well—that’s another post…)
But I wanted to make something to showcase the raspberries—especially those goldens—so you could actually see them before you ate them.
Gigi also had a nice crop of beets getting fat in the ground, bulging above the soil. I had a vision of a stacked salad: layers of sliced roasted beets on top of frisee, followed by goat cheese, then the red and golden raspberries. I’d make a vinaigrette from the black raspberries and drizzle it over each layer. The colors and flavors would be knock-out.
This raspberry vinaigrette is different from the ones we’ve all seen and tasted for the past 20 plus years. Because it’s made with gently cooked berries and not berry-infused vinegar, the dressing is thick and intensely sweet-tart raspberry.
Honestly, it would be equally delicious spooned over ice cream. In fact, the whole beet-berry salad stack had a spectacular reeling Sundae dessert look to it. Heavenly…
Stacked Roasted Beet-Raspberry Salad
Mixed Greens or Frisee
6 Roasted Beets, sliced
4 oz. Goat Cheese
1 pint Fresh Raspberries
Black Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Place a layer of salad greens on the base of platter. Lay out slices of roasted beets in a circle on top of the greens. Sprinkle with goat cheese, then with raspberries. Drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette, and repeat the stack.
Black Raspberry Vinaigrette
1 cup Black Raspberries (or red!)
3 T. Sugar
3 T. Red Wine Vinegar
4 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In a saucepan, gently cook the raspberries and sugar together, until the berries release their juices and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
Place into a food processor fitted with a swivel blade. Add vinegars, a little salt and coarse ground black pepper, and pulse together. Drizzle in the olive oil while processing until vinaigrette is thickened and emulsified. Taste and adjust for sweetness, acid, salt and pepper.