The Perfect Spring Salad!
By Dennis Linden
Here’s a tasty beet salad recipe, submitted by Matt Hernandez, just in time to include in this month’s Memorial Day picnic to kick off the summer salad season in delicious style! Matt says that some version of this salad can usually be found in his home refrigerator most any day of the week and, after my own first tasting, this salad has pretty much dominated the largest bowl in my own Tupperware collection ever since! This is an easy-to-make recipe using three of Melissa’s precooked products that speeds prep even more!
“I usually make some variation of this recipe once a week, using one or two items in our steamed line and whatever veggies I have in my fridge,” explained Matt. “It’s a super easy dish to prepare that keeps well for several days – it may even improve in taste a bit. The leftovers are easily brought to the office for a quick and healthy lunch.”
This salad dish looks as good as it tastes, to coin the pun! The contrasting colors of vibrant yellow-gold and a rich beet-red [literally] is dazzling. In fact every component in Matt’s recipe has a different color that lends yet another flavor to the mix. Earthy red beets, sweeter golden beets and creamy garbanzos all take their turns flavoring and being flavored by the fresh sweetness of carrot and tang of onion – everything tinged with the pleasantly spicy heat of roasted jalapeño. Best served slightly chilled for maximum flavor balance.
What makes this dish practical is Melissa’s steamed line of fresh products, especially the beets. Honestly, if I had to prepare this recipe using raw beets – just getting to the point of cubing this messy veggie would add a few hours to the prep as well as many shades of reds and yellows to all clothing and/or absorbent culinary equipment in the proximity. Instead all I have to do is cube the red beets right out of the package; Melissa’s gold beets are already cubed and ready to go! Did someone whisper “canned beets”…not unless they have figured a way to remove that decidedly metal aftertaste in a can of anything originally grown in the soil? Another right-out-of-the package convenience Matt takes advantage of is using our Roasted Jalapeños to kick things up a notch. One could take a shortcut by using a raw pepper but the time saved would not be worth the flavor lost that a roasted pepper can offer.
Matt Hernandez is a second generation Melissa’s family member as dad, Jimmy, has been involved with the company almost since its inception by his brother Joe in 1984. The fresh produce industry handles so many different kinds of crops, from apples to zucchini and every fruit/veggie in-between, that it is necessary for those who are involved in the buying or selling of fruits and vegetables in the commercial marketplace to specialize in trading in one or two kinds of crops. Matt has been a member of Melissa’s Procurement Team for four years.
“As a buyer on our procurement team, my category is fruit. Our procurement team works directly with growers to bring in product for our sales staff,” described Matt. “This is a fluid thing that includes following and providing seasonal updates to the company’s various sales teams, while managing a continual running inventory in spite of the seasonal fluctuations in supply. I also must plan ads with our retail customers that will coincide with peak production periods. That means many field trips to visit growers and inspect orchard conditions firsthand. It’s busy and it’s fun!”
When the business day is done, Matt likes to go on road trips and be outdoors. He enjoys surfing, reading, travelling and just hanging out with friends.
Matt’s Beet Salad
1 pkg. Melissa's Steamed Baby Beets, cubed
1 pkg. Melissa’s Peeled, Steamed & Cubed Golden Beets
1 pkg. Melissa’s Steamed & Peeled Garbanzo Beans
1 Melissa’s Roasted Jalapeño, seeded, diced
1 Green Onion, diced
1 Carrot, shredded
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ cup Olive Oil
Black Pepper, to taste
Crumbled Feta Cheese, to taste
Cube Red Beets into same size as Melissa’s already-cubed Golden Beets.
Combine Beets, Garbanzo Beans, Jalapeño and Green Onion in a large mixing bowl.
Add shredded carrot, then toss with the vinegar/ olive oil mixture until thoroughly coated. Best chilled for an hour before serving.
Plating: Individual serving topped with a sprinkle of feta cheese and ground black pepper to taste.