Seasonality drives the decision-making at Quaintrelle, where a long list of local farms and purveyors inspire Bill Wallender, Executive Chef. For his ever-changing salad offerings, he relies almost exclusively on whatever the farms bring in for the menu.
He is also a master at interesting plays on texture and flavor—creating thoughtful salad treatments that find favor with today’s modern diner. For a recent iteration of a beet salad, he juxtaposed earthy and buttery flavors (roasted sunchokes, beets and toasted cashews), with contrasting sharper elements (ancho cress, radish, tahini purée and lemon oil to finish).
The ancho cress introduces a peppery flavor, while the tahini brings an unexpected smooth texture—along with an acidic bite.
“Adding toasted cashews and roasted sunchokes just took the salad to another level. I also made a simple brittle from sesame seeds for added crunch. The components really complement the inherent sweetness of the beets,” says Wallender.
“We’ve joked about renaming it the ‘I Don’t Even Like Beets Salad’ because we’ve converted so many of our diners!”