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Recipe: Pastrami Beet Toast

Bresca makes an inventive, vegetarian take on pastrami and rye.
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Bresca, which opened in September 2017, bills itself as a place for "casual fine dining where experimentation becomes the everyday." Ryan Ratino, chef/owner of the Washington, D.C. restaurant, honed his skills at some of the best restaurants in the country, including the now-shuttered WD~50, one-starred Caviar Russe and Dovetail in New York City, two-starred minibar and, most recently, Cleveland Park's now-closed yet critically acclaimed Ripple.

Below is the recipe for Bresca's inventive, vegetarian take on the deli classic of pastrami and rye, with beets in lieu of the usual beef.

Related: Winter Produce Guide

Pastrami Beet Toast

Recipe courtesy of Bresca, Washington, D.C
Serves 1

Ingredients

2 small beets
4 cups Brine (recipe below)
2 tablespoons Pastrami Vinaigrette (recipe below)
2 tablespoons Pickling Spice (recipe below)
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
½ tablespoon fresh herbs
Dash of olive oil
1 slice rye toast
1 pickled pearl onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon pickled mustard seeds
Fresh dill, for garnish
Mustard greens, for garnish

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

2.
Cover and bake the beets for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through. Let them cool to room temperature, peel, and put in the brine for 48 hours.

3.
Remove the beets from the brine, cut into small pieces, and dress with the pastrami vinaigrette and pickling spice.

4.
Place the feta, fresh herbs and olive oil in a food processor and pulse until the feta is whipped and creamy.

5.
Spread the whipped feta over the slice of rye toast. Add the roasted beets, pickled pearl onions, and pickled mustard seeds. Garnish with some dill and mustard greens.

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Brine

Ingredients

2 cups water
1 cup salt
1 carrot
1 celery
½ onion
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup pickling spice (recipe below)
1 tablespoon garlic powder

Method

In a pot large enough to hold all ingredients, dissolve the salt in the water. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Strain and let cool before refrigerating.

Pastrami Vinaigrette

Ingredients

10 sprigs thyme, leaves finely chopped
2 sprigs juniper, leaves finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon minced celery
¼ cup honey
¼ cup minced cornichons
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons mayo
1 ½ tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon pickling spice (recipe below)
1 teaspoon fennel seed
½ teaspoon chili flakes
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method

Whisk all of ingredients until evenly combined and the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Pickling Spice

Ingredients

½ cup dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons allspice
2 teaspoons clove
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons celery salt

Method

Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor until finely ground.

Photo by Jason Tilery.

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