One of the things I’m always keen to do is to make people realise that beer can be a delicate beverage; that it’s not just something to drink with a burger or a plate of fish and chips. So I was thrilled when Tanja Kruger, head chef at Majeka House’s Makaron, provided a salad recipe for African Brew. You might find it a strange notion to follow a recipe for something that isn’t cooked, but choosing a bunch of interesting ingredients to put together in a salad, ingredients that actually work well together, can actually be quite a tricky challenge.
I have to admit that I was a little concerned about the vinegar in the dressing and what it would do to the flavour of any beer drunk with the dish, but the honey and mustard provided a great balance and somehow, the dressing just worked. Sip the beer, take a mouthful of all the salad ingredients together, then sip again and let me know what you think.
In African Brew, this recipe used Boston Breweries‘ Johnny Gold weissbier, but my local liquor store doesn’t stock it so I used CBC Amber Weiss for the recipe instead.
2 baby gem/ baby cos lettuce
1 ruby grapefruit
10 rainbow carrots (I did my shopping at Pick ‘n’ Pay so just used normal carrots but you should be able to get these from good branches of Woolies)
20g fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
50ml white wine vinegar
150ml olive oil
50ml weissbier (note: as I was concerned about the effect the vinegar might have when paired with a beer, I used slightly less vinegar and slightly more beer in the dressing – but it probably wasn’t necessary)
For the dressing, mix the mustard, garlic, honey and vinegar together in a bowl. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking. When the dressing has combined nicely, add the weiss and whisk. Set aside for serving.
For the salad, wash the lettuce and lay in a bowl or on a plate.
Segment the orange and the grapefruit and sprinkle it over the leaves.
Peel and blanche half the carrots and cut them in half. With a peeler, make shavings from the rest of the carrots and put the shavings and the blanched carrots on the lettuce
Sprinkle the chèvre over the salad
Tear the coriander and sprinkle over the salad
Finish by pouring over the weissbier dressing
Serve with a hefeweizen. I found that the citrus actually worked very well with a weissbier, bringing out a sweetness in the beer. The goats’ cheese likewise is a perfect pal for hefeweizen – both are flavourful yet delicate an the beer does a great job of cleansing the creamy cheese from your palate.
This recipe first appeared in African Brew and was provided by Tanja Kruger. Makaron has long prided itself on having a good beer selection and offers beer pairings to its diners as well as wine pairings. And if you want to know which pairings are better, join Cathy Marston and me at Makaron on May 27th for a five-course Grape vs Grain dinner. Stay tuned for the menu and pairings, coming soon!