Roasted Beets with Crisp Iberian Ham and Cauliflower Cream

Thomas Connell

Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Many of the components in this dish can be prepared a day ahead.


  • Cilantro Oil (optional):
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons Italian parsley
  • 1 cup grape-seed oil
  • Cinnamon-Roasted Beets:
  • 4 medium red beets
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, divided
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
  • 4 medium yellow beets
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Crisp Iberian Ham:
  • 30 thin slices Iberian ham (about 1/4 pound)
  • Cauliflower Cream:
  • 1 head cauliflower, stem and leaves removed, quartered
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup whole almonds, preferably peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • Banyuls Onions:
  • 2 cups Banyuls vinegar
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 15 small spring onions bulbs, outer skins removed
  • Cilantro for garnish (if omitting the cilantro oil)


To make the oil, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the cilantro and parsley and cook for 15 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the herbs to paper towels. Use additional paper towels to press the herbs dry. Place the herbs in a blender, add the grape-seed oil, and blend until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature overnight. The next day, strain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve.

To make the beets, preheat the oven to 275ºF. Place the red beets in a roasting pan with the red wine, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 thyme sprigs. Place the yellow beets in a separate roasting pan with the white wine, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 thyme sprigs. Cover both pans with aluminum foil and roast in the oven until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Discard the cinnamon and thyme, but reserve the liquid. Peel the skins off the beets, then cut the beets into small wedges. Marinate the beets in their respective cooking liquids in the refrigerator until ready to serve. (Can be made a day ahead.)

To prepare the ham, preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay out the ham slices on the parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper directly over the ham, then top with another baking sheet to keep the ham flat. Cook in the oven for about 3 hours, until the ham is dry. Remove the top pan and the top layer of parchment and continue to dry in the oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the ham is drying, make the cauliflower: bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the cauliflower and lemon juice. Boil until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Reserving the cooking liquid, transfer the cauliflower to a blender and add the almonds and garlic. Blend for several minutes until smooth, incorporating some of the cooking liquid to obtain a smooth texture if needed. Add the olive oil and vinegar and blend to incorporate. Season with salt to taste and refrigerate.

To make the onions, combine the vinegar, bay leaf, and black pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the onions. Let cool, then slice the onions in half lengthwise. Refrigerate until needed. (Can be made a day ahead.)

To serve, spoon some cauliflower cream onto a plate and  top with some beets, onions, and ham. Finish with cilantro oil or chopped fresh cilantro.


6 servings