Thursday, July 12, 2012

Purple Jewels

Beets haven't always been one of my favorite things. Along with horseradish, I just never understood their joy to the palette. Now however, it's an entirely different story and they both rank among my top favorite things.

As it tis the season, following are a couple of my favorite beet recipes.

Photo: Rachor Photo
This relish is one of my favorite summer staples. It's wonderful on brats, burgers, alongside grilled pork chops.. And it will store in the fridge for a good week. Also in this photo is my other favorite Grilled Corn Relish which is fabulous alongside a grilled flank steak. But what isn't fabulous alongside a flank steak. I digress..
Beet Relish

2 cups shredded cooked beets
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled. Makes: 2 cups

Note: To cook beets, place whole beets with stems removed in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes or until a fork inserts fairly easily. Drain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove peel and shred beets. One pound beets will probably give you the 2 cups of shredded beets.

Someplace, I swear that there is a picture of this salad, but I have yet to find who's camera it was taken with. You will have to trust me that the salad is an absolute beauty and such a fantastic arrangement of flavors. We served it along side grilled pork chops that were only sprinkled with salt and pepper per my dad's recommendation and it was a dinner of dinners if I do say so myself.

Roasted Beet and Sweet Potato Salad

2-3 pounds baby beets
1 large sweet potato, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups salad greens (mix of baby greens, spinach and arugula)
4 green onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
Shredded goat cheese or crumbled fresh goat cheese
Mustard Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup olive oil
2-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Trim the greens from the beets leaving about 1 inch of the stems attached. Gently scrub beets and pat dry; cut beets, through the stem end, in half. Place on a large baking sheet and drizzle with some of the olive oil. Push beets aside to make just enough room for the potato; drizzle with oil. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes or until beets are tender. Stir vegetables occasionally while roasting, but try to avoid co-mingling them to avoid the sweet potato being died purple. Cool slightly.

Whisk vinaigrette ingredients. Place greens in a large bowl or arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with onions and arrange roasted vegetables over the top. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with walnuts and cheese. Serves: 6

Note: Beings it's now later in the season, you may not be able to find baby beets. Just as well, regular beets may be used, just cut them into wedges or cube them, whichever you may desire and roast as directed.

I haven't tried grilling beets yet, which is surprising as I've grilled pretty much everything else! If I were to, and it is now on my list of things to do.. I would take scrubbed beets with stems trimmed to an inch and cut them into wedges. Place on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse pepper and sea salt. I would throw in a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and seal up the packet. Then grill over indirect heat for about 45 minutes or until fork-tender. After about 30 minutes, poke holes in the packet to infuse some smokey flavor. Before serving, squeeze the juice from a lemon half over the beets.

I would think that would have to be good..!

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