Hickory Smoked Beet Salad w/Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese, Blackberry Vinaigrette, Brulee Blood Orange, & Fresh Basil
Side Dish Runner Up
- Damascus Old Mill | Damascus, Va.
- Johnson City Division
Goat Cheese, Blackberry Vinaigrette, Brulee Blood Orange and Fresh Basil is a real winner at Damascus Old Mill. Sharing the earthiness of beets with the sweetness of candied pecans is an excellent use of cross utilization. The recipe for candied pecans is drawn from a North Carolina chef who “cooks them until translucent, then deep fries them, leaving a beautiful glossy coat on the outside.”
This is a shelf-stable dish with multiple uses, blending a heaviness needed on cold nights with the delicacy of the blackberry vinaigrette that salad eaters crave. A a great fall side salad. The goat cheese rounds it out and the bruleed blood orange really knows it out of the park.
James Wright, the Executive Chef at Damascus Old Mill, traveled to many different places to develop his culinary style and he says each place has taught him something. For example, James has worked at Mountain Top Country Club and Discoveryland. Over the years, he evolved into a sous chef and has worked with many different chefs. He says the chef at Mountaintop taught him a lot about the business aspects and the melding of cuisines.
Last year, when he and wife bought a house in Tenn., he heard that Damascus Old Mill was looking for a chef and so his new journey began. They started slowly but surely, and are now even changing their menu every other week to reflect seasonal produce. Amazingly, four of James’ dishes made it as finalists in the Best of Reinhart contest and it seems like a testament to the melting pot that is found in his diverse and delicious cuisine.
The brûléed blood orange knocks it out of the park!