Erin French, a Freedom, Maine native, captures the charming spirit of her small town restaurant through her book, The Lost Kitchen.
I’ve always loved playing around with chilled beet soup, but often my attempts turned out looking like Pepto-Bismol. But then I tried it with a bag of golden beets from a local farm, added buttermilk, and got the most beautiful sunshine yellow color—like marigolds in a bowl. This soup is tangy, cool, and refreshing.
- I like to boil beets over medium heat in well-salted water as opposed to roasting them—it keeps them juicy and flavorful. Put the beets in a large pot, add just enough cold water to cover, season well with salt, and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, 25 to 40 minutes, depending on their size. Remove the beets, allow them to cool to room temperature, then peel off the skins with your hands.
- For the Macerated Shallot Vinaigrette: Combine the shallots and rice vinegar and allow to macerate for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight. Whisk in the olive oil and pepper. You could store this in your fridge for up to a week, but you’ll get the freshest, brightest flavor if you use it within 24 hours.
- Cut 1 beet into small dice about the size of your pinky nail. In a small bowl, toss the beet with the macerated shallot vinaigrette and set aside. Cut the rest of the beets into large chunks.
- Puree the chopped beets, buttermilk, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until completely cooled.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Put the dill fronds and basil leaves in a small ramekin and the sour cream in a second ramekin. Serve along with the marinated beets so people can garnish their soups as desired.
Reprinted from The Lost Kitchen. Copyright © 2017 by Erin French. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Nicole Franzen. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.