The Saveur 100 last month featured a mindbending fried-basil granola from Daniel Humm that I dogeared midflight and started preparing just about as soon as the plane touched down. Puffed rice tossed with pine nuts in a light, savory syrup of piment d’espelette and fried fresh basil. The gorgeous photo showed it on a beet salad.
My spice rack had no piment–in fact, I’m not sure that any shop in Honolulu stocks the Basque pepper. I subbed paprika and a little cayenne; saved the oil from frying the basil to brown some Japanese turnips from the CSA, and roasted up two shades of beets.
Flowers from my bolting dill, and a few tips from the feathery (turning leathery) fronds teased the dish from winter’s palate towards a spring palette.
There were a couple roasted beets that didn’t make it into the salad– they were sitting around in the fridge with nothing better to do, so the next morning I asked one to spend seven seconds with an immersion blender and a little plain yogurt, for sort of a breakfast borscht. My cereal didn’t know what to say.