Golden & Red Beet Tartare with an Apple Cider and Dill Vinaigrette

I am already fast forwarding into next month imagining my holiday table and dishes that will adorn it. This dish was inspired by Jean-Georges', Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman.The trio of Beet Ravioli with Beet Sauce, Beet and Ginger Salad and Beet Tartare is an inspiration. This recipe is entirely different from the ones in the book, but for years now, just before the holidays, I pull the book off the shelf and leaf through it in complete stillness. The sensations the images invoke are indescribable. Turn to the thinly sliced, layered and stacked up high, wedge of apple confit, and you will experience the sensations the images jumping out of the pages invoke as well.
This post is as much about the recipe as the presentation as I strive to achieve around the holidays for that extra touch. This post is also my further exploration into food styling and moods and characters in photography. All I could think of for the last couple of days is textures. Also where here the beets take a more elegant persona, in the previous post they took on a more rustic feel. Equally beautiful.
What Jean-Georges', Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef encouraged me to do is use the cookie cutter as a form. On any given day I am usually way too lazy to bother but it's worth the couple minutes extra fuss around the holidays, the guests feel extra special. The salad is super simple as is achieving this presentation. All you need is a cookie cutter. You can serve it with any of your favorite vinaigrette, or with just lemon and olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper, or with the Apple Cider, Dill vinaigrette below.You could use this assembly for tuna tartare and top if off with diced mango or a fruit dessert course.
Golden and Red Beet Tartare with an Apple, Dill vinaigrette
serves 4-6

Ingredients:
3 medium red beets
2 small golden beets
1 medium shallot, peeled and diced
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

6 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons country Dijon mustard
2-3 teaspoons honey (according to taste)
1//4-1/2 teaspoon of finely grated fresh ginger (optional)
1 small shallot, peeled and diced
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnish
Sprig of dill

Cut stems off and peel the beets. Cook golden and red beets in two separate pots covered with water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until al dente. Run cold water over beets while they are still in pots and drain separately. First, finely dice the golden beets on a cutting board and then the red, keep diced beets in separate bowls. Add 2/3 of the dill and shallot to red beets and the other 1/3 to the golden beets.

Toss all vinaigrette ingredients in a separate bowl together and whisk for few seconds until emulsified. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper if necessary.

Assembly:
Depending on the serving size, I used a medium 3 inch in diameter cookie cutter. Center a cookie cutter on a salad plate and fill it 2/3 up with red beets. Press gently with the back of a teaspoon to pack red beets and level. Add the golden beets on top of the red beets and press gently to pack and level with the back of a teaspoon. Apply pressure on top of the golden beet layer with the cushions of your index and middle fingers while gently pulling up the cookie cutter to release the beet salad from the cookie mold and voila!

Drizzle a teaspoon of the vinaigrette on the plate around the base of the beets and have extra vinaigrette on the side.

Garnish plate with a sprig of dill.